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Why You Love Salty and Sweet Things

Tips & Tricks | September 22, 2017

Hello wonderful readers! After last week’s exploration on what made milk and cookies so good together, this week I thought I’d try something a bit different. Today, we’re joined by our two favorite Epare Scientists, Bunsen and Beaker! I’d show an actual picture of them, but they keep saying things like “stop taking pictures in here” and “that’s not even my real name,” so I’ll just link you to another video of the greatest scientists of our time and move on with it.

Today, I wanted to know what made Salty and Sweet so good together. M&Ms in your popcorn, chocolate covered pretzels, kettle corn, or even chocolate covered bacon! Sure, combining star-crossed flavors is fascinating and everything, but there’s not one that I see pop up nearly as often as salty and sweet combined.

So, let’s start with the basics. As Bunsen explained, we have five primary tastes: Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami, which is Japanese for savory or delicious. I thought that the last one seemed ill defined, but then he pointed to his PHD on the wall and also said if I didn’t want his help I could just Google this stuff like a normal person. I promptly let him continue.

Now, he continued to explain that we have these tastes for a reason, mostly because humans are actual 100% bona-fide omnivores. Certain things taste a certain way because it’s what our bodies needed during caveman times - Sweet was a good way to know something needed carbohydrates, and salty meant nutrients. I asked what Umami was meant to do, and he mumbled for a minute before quietly admitting he wasn’t entirely sure. I gave him a pat on the back for being honest.

So, with that in mind, it’s no wonder that I want to use the Epare Sugar Mill on my potato Chips, right? Salty and sweet, carbohydrates and minerals! No bad side at all, right? Well, duh, obviously not, but he did explain why that kind of sounds appealing in that really gross kind of way.

Flavor Layering is the art of taking one of the five tastes and combining them. Sometimes this doesn’t work (orange juice and toothpaste, anyone?) but its purpose is to make it so you don’t get bored of a singular taste. By flavor layering, it’s a nice way for your body to go “you need to diversify, I need different types of nutrition!”

Which is also why we’ve suggested seasoning your food, but that’s besides the point.

So with that in mind, I had a good idea of why we as a species like sweet and salty, along with sweet and sour and spicy and sweet. It’s flavor layering and we’re genetically predisposed to want the combination - Otherwise, we’d all just eat mouthful of sugar. But sweet and salty seems to be more of a Western thing, with Matcha and Green Tea being a favorite flavor of Japan.

When I brought that up, Beaker just wrote “UMAMI” on a white board and made a rude gesture towards Bunsen and me that I’m not going to share.

So with that in mind, maybe try making your own salty and sweet snacks with our Grinders and Mills, available here. Leave us your recipes and if we find them delicious we will post them, giving you full credit of course!

See you next time!

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