Episode 49: Eating

Bowl of Noodles

Image was uploaded to stock.xchng by fueltank.

Mmm…tasty! Eating is one of life’s simple pleasures, but the chemical process behind it is actually quite complex.  Balancing the right minerals with good taste is no easy matter. This week Distillations snuggles in with a hot bowl of soup and an episode about the chemistry of eating. We follow Aries Keck on her search for the elusive “fifth taste”—umami. Then we read an 18th-century poem about the lush taste sensations in the West Indies. Element of the Week: Magnesium.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:31 Introduction
00:50 Element of the Week: Magnesium
02:56 Mystery Solved: Umami
07:14 Poetry Reading: “A General Description of the West-Indian Islands.”
11:17 Closing Credits

Resources and References

Read more about umami and MSG in “A Taste Sensation” from the Fall 2008 issue of Chemical Heritage magazine.
Get your full dose of magnesium at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Healthlink web site.
Find out the recommended daily intake of all sorts of chemicals from the Institute of Medicine.


Special thanks go to Audra Wolfe for researching the show.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music from the PodSafe Music Network.  Additional music is “Fridge Full of Food,” by the Nancy Drews, “Seinfeld Cure Talk Show Theme,” by Podcast Troubadour, and “Falling,” by Under Feather.

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