Part of Lesson Plan: Effects of Mouthfeel on Food Evaluation
Activity Overview / Details
Instruct students to get out their data table template that they prepared in yesterday's class. (The day before, students prepared a lab report that included a purpose, procedure, data table, observation, analysis and conclusion sections in preparation for collecting data during today's activities.)
A discussion of controlled experiments will take place before this lab to remind students that in order to keep outside distractions to a minimum, students need to avoid comments and gestures that might influence their lab partners' responses.
I will have prepared in advance 4 to 6 samples of foods with varying textures arranged on plates that are odorless, similar in color and shape and have mild flavors only. I use tofu, peeled apple, peeled potato, peeled pear, peeled jicama, mild white cheese, etc. All are cut into equal size cubes and each variety of food sample is placed on a separate paper plate labeled with a three digit random number. Each table or lab group (2 to 4 students) receives a tray with the plates of food samples. The plates of food samples are covered by a clean tea towel so that students do not see the samples too far in advance. Once the groups of students receive their trays of food samples, they are instructed to unveil the food samples at the same time. Students will then use toothpicks to place one food sample item at a time in their mouths. Next, students will record in their data table, descriptive words that describe the mouthfeel of each food sample. They will also write in their data table what they think the food sample is. Students will do this separately with each food sample provided. ( I do not force students to put something in their mouths that they are uncomfortable doing or think they might be allergic to.
Upon completion of the lab activity, actual identity of food samples will be revealed and time will be given for groups to analyze their results and write up a conclusion to the mouthfeel activity.
A class discussion will follow and a conclusion to the activity will be developed:
Possible conclusion: The appeal of food may be affected by how a food feels in the mouth. Mouthfeel is also related to the other human senses used to evaluate food: sight, smell, taste and hearing. When the sense of touch (mouthfeel) is isolated from the other senses, it may be difficult for participants to identify food substances by mouthfeel alone. When creating a menu, it is important for a chef to consider a variety of mouthfeel foods in order to create sensory appeal and interest to their meal.
Materials / Resource
- Mouthfeel experiment and evaluation.doc [ Download ] Student Data Table and Evaluation Form