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Why You’ve Never Really Tasted Your 6 Favorite Foods


Ever hear the phrase “You eat with your eyes”? On top of it being a good horror movie premise, it turns out that it’s also true. We tend to orient our diets around how our food looks, in lieu of how it actually tastes. And the food industry knows this. Which is why …

#6. We’re Denied Multiple Carrot Varieties Because Of The Dutch

Carrots naturally come in a rainbow of colors, each with their own variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients. White carrots are crisper, red carrots are starchier, and purple carrots have a hint of spice to them. There’s so much variety that a talented chef could probably make a decent meal out of just carrots. So why is it that orange carrots have become the worldwide standard, to the point where everything else looks like some toxic mutation? Bizarrely enough, whenever you bite into an orange carrot, you’re chewing on a hearty mouthful of Dutch patriotism.

Carrying on a proud and noble tradition.

See, back in the 17th Century, the Netherlands broke away from Spanish political influence to become a nation in its own right. The main driving force behind this was the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau. The dynasty was so absurdly popular that the color orange essentially became a trademark of the Dutch — as it remains to this day. All because it happened to be the surname of a bunch of aristocrats the people really liked.

“Yellow!? Traitors!”

The Dutch people started wearing orange, painting their houses orange, and planting trees that flowered orange, in what was possibly the most successful political branding campaign of all time. And of course, orange food also became incredibly popular. The most obvious winners were oranges, but orange candies, jams, and liqueurs also cornered the market. It is for this reason that orange carrots vastly outsold every other variety.

The success of Dutch international trade meant that the orange carrot craze eventually infected the rest of the world, and now most people would regard a white carrot as some sort of Powder-esque super albino.

#5. Tomatoes And Apples Sacrifice Taste For Vibrant Color

Tomatoes are an inoffensive filler vegetable. You might slap a couple of slices on your burger or mix it into your pasta sauce with enough sugar and herbs to make it edible, but you’d call someone a freak if you saw them take a bite out of a tomato like they mistook it for an apple. But tomatoes used to taste quite good, once upon a time. Around 70 years ago, the common tomato was sweeter, more aromatic, and generally more flavorful.

So what happened? Put simply, farmers noticed that tomatoes sold better the redder they were, because buyers figured that meant they were ripe. So farmers began to deliberately breed tomatoes to be a uniform red. Of course, most tomato buyers aren’t biologists, so they didn’t know that the gene that’s responsible for holding back the redness of a ripening tomato is also the one that gives it flavor. If you remember the basics of high school biology, you know that the green parts of plants contain the mechanisms (chloroplasts) which turn sunlight into sugars. Deprive a tomato of those, and you wind up with the balloon full of bland pulp that we have today.

Not even this perfectly-lit stock photo can make them look appetizing.

The exact same thing happened to the apple industry. Although it’s the most popular apple variety in the United States, the “Red Delicious” is half a lie. What is now a mushy, grainy hunk of wet Styrofoam may have lived up to its title when it hit the market back in the late 1800s, but farmers dedicated the following years to maximizing the redness at the expense of the deliciousness. Over the generations, Red Delicious apples have been bred not only to increase their uniform color and size, but also to give them thicker skin to hide bruises and therefore maximize shelf life. But the name stuck, because “Red It’s All Right I Guess” isn’t as catchy.

Red Meh-licious.

#4. Oranges Need Special Treatment To Become Orange Enough

Oranges are not orange. We know what you’re thinking — whether the color was named after the fruit or vice versa, the fact remains that oranges are the most appropriately-named members of the fruit family. But here’s the kicker: When picked from the tree, most oranges look something like this:

Those “oranges” are perfectly ripe, and yellowy-green is in fact the way real oranges roll in nature, just like the aforementioned tomatoes and apples. That doesn’t change the fact that we’re accustomed to oranges living up to their name, and so we tend to bypass any that aren’t as orange as possible. So how do oranges get their customary, unnatural hue?

Virtually all of the oranges you buy from the supermarket have gone through a “degreening” process, which means that they’ve been bathed in ethylene gas. This bleaches the patchy yellow and green out of the skin of the fruit so that their bright orange innards can shine through. An unfortunate side effect of this treatment is that it reduces the fruits’ shelf life. See, the reason a fruit goes from green to yellow or orange in nature in the first place is that it’s basically dying. Ethylene works because it’s an organic compound that stimulates the rotting process to kill that disgusting healthy green shit and turn your orange into a delectable corpse. So there you go: Oranges aren’t orange.

Somewhere, a disheveled Dutch reader is running down a produce aisle screaming, “Everything is a lie!”

Also, your life is a lie. Just a giant lie.

Originally found athttp://www.cracked.com/