Hot Bisque

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By Bridget Coughlin, PhD

Well I did it-the thing we ask visitors daily if they did as a way to screen their taste data.  Did you burn your tongue recently?  Yesterday the Museum catering team made incredible (and incredibly hot) tomato bisque.  In a rush, I plunged in my spoon and slurped -- ouch. You would think someone slightly obsessed with tasting and food flavor would be more careful!

Even today my tongue feels funny -- the cells scalded and dead from the soup's heat.  It takes a few days for these cells to get exfoliated off and replaced by stems cells that have differentiated and replaced the old ones.  In the mean time I can't taste food as well.  And lunch today, a Chipotle chicken burrito, was a bit flat flavor wise. 

In the lab we ask visitors if they have burnt their tongue recently so that we will know if they might be under reporting the taste sensation when we give them the taste tests.

Ok, off to doing more work and get a cup of not too hot coffee.  Thanks all for the well wishes on my tongue cell repair!

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