Taste, Smell, Sight, and Now, Hearing Affects Flavors

Eating's a sensual experience, and scientists are discovering the role an unexpected sense plays in it. Scientific American cites a report from the journal Food Quality and Preference showing evidence that sound affects taste and texture perception. Eating in a loud environment can render flavors bland, but enhance the perception of crispness.

Safety violations at the farm owned by California's lieutenant governor surface as election nears. In a candidate profile the Los Angeles Times revisits the 2007 death of a farm worker at Agro-Jal Farming Enterprises, the 6000-acre farm owned by Abel Maldonado's family. The death led to an investigation that uncovered dozens of violations from Cal/OSHA in the past 20 years.

It's hospital happy hour? An NPR story looks at hospitals changing their policies on patients and alcohol. Some hospitals, like Parkview Ortho Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana, allow patients to bring alcohol to celebrate their final hospital meal, if approved by a doctor. Others, like the Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tennessee, stock wine, beer, and liquor to dispense to patients with a prescription.

Food promised land Portland, Oregon, gets a non-foodie food guide. The Oregonean takes a look at where people who don't worship food get a bite to eat in a gourmet-crazed city.

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