Now there is an issue here about the role of perception in affecting taste. Food scientists tell us, for example, that there is no nutritional difference between free range chicken and eggs and the the more intensively farmed variety.
I have never quite accepted this. More precisely, I have accepted the nutritional base, but still considered that there was a difference in taste.
Over recent years, mass produced store sold tomatoes have become quite tasteless, at least to me. A ripe tomato full of juice is nice as a snack on its own, although I add pepper and salt. In train smash, the tomatoes need to have a strong taste to compliment the strong taste of onion and/or bacon. Store bought tomatoes seemed to me to no longer fit the bill.
I did wonder if it was my imagination, although there is no way the tomatoes I bought yesterday could be described as tasty. It was a bit like eating cardboard.
The Guardian Australia has now carried a report on recent scientific research that suggests that all of us who complain that tomatoes have lost their taste are quite right. I quote:
After conducting exhaustive taste tests of 100 tomato varieties and sequencing the genomes of nearly 400 varieties, researchers have found the 13 volatile compounds that give a tomato its inherent flavour.
By comparing traditional tomatoes with their modern descendants, the teams uncovered the properties that have been lost in the quest for improved size, yields and resistance.The process followed is reasonably complex because you have to use taste tests that are inherently subjective to establish a taste base. Accepting that, it is reassuring to know that the decline of the tasty tomato does have a scientific base, that it's not just our imagination. Perhaps the approach can be extended to other foods, measuring not just nutrition but also taste?