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From Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams to the neural pathways that deliver flavor signals to the brain, explore how the science of taste is a delicious area of study.

For this episode, Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, joins us to talk about her ingredient-driven style of ice cream making that relies on the science of combining unexpected flavors.

How We Perceive Flavors

Humans evolved taste to discern delicious food from poisonous or rotten food. It’s part of what helped us survive, explains Dr. Dana Small to QED’s Dr. B. We’re born liking sweet tastes, because sugar provides energy, which humans need to survive. Throwing processed foods into this, however, changes the game.

What You Eat And Where You Eat Matters

We love the taste of fatty foods and sugary foods, but we know they’re not the most nutritious. Dr. Christopher T. Simons tells QED’s Dr. B how where you eat and who you eat with can also have an impact on a food’s flavor and our enjoyment of it. Eating healthier foods in the presence of friends may enhance our memories of the food and create better relationships with things like… broccoli.

How Food Packaging Preserves Flavors

A pretty package doesn’t make people buy a certain food item, but it does play a big part in taste and consumption. Dr. Melvin Pascall from Ohio State University’s Food Innovation Center talks to QED’s Dr. B about how that wrapping impacts food’s flavor. He also shares his lab’s cutting edge research focused on edible wrapping – yes consumable plastics!

Can Jeni Make Caribbean Jerk Chicken Ice Cream?

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is known for its creative and sometimes unusual flavors. When Dr. B asked Jeni Britton Bauer, Jeni’s’ founder and chief creative officer, about the science behind recreating a Caribbean-styled ice cream – she was up for the challenge.

There’s a lot that goes into our sense of taste – it’s more than just taste buds, it’s scent, chemical and electrical signals, and more!

QED with Dr. B

QED with Dr. B, is a fun and informative science series, co-produced by WOSU Public Media and the Center for Science and Industry (COSI), that talks one-on-one with the scientists, engineers and innovators who are redefining how we interact with our world.

Watch the series online or on WOSU TV on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.