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Umami is a Japanese term used to describe the rich, savoury flavour of foods like mushrooms, tomato, some cheeses and miso. (iStock)

By Bradley Johnston

Regardless of how you feel about airplane food, there’s one inflight offering that never fails to disappoint – alcohol.

There’s a bevy of boozy options to pick from onboard but if you’re searching for a superior flavour experience, there’s only one drink to order while cruising at 30,000 feet.

study from Cornell University, suggests that in noisy situations – like onboard a jetliner – sweetness is suppressed, and the taste of unami-rich foods (like tomato juice) is significantly enhanced, which causes bloody Marys to actually taste better while flying.

Bloody Mary
There’s only one drink to order while cruising at 30,000 feet. (iStock)

Umami is a Japanese term used to describe the rich, savoury flavour of foods like mushrooms, tomato, some cheeses and miso.

“Our study confirmed that in an environment of loud noise, our sense of taste is compromised. Interestingly, this was specific to sweet and umami tastes, with sweet taste inhibited and umami taste significantly enhanced,” wrote Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science at Cornell.

“The multi-sensory properties of the environment where we consume our food can alter our perception of the foods we eat.”

Noise isn’t the only thing that effects taste during flight.

A study conducted by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, commissioned by airline Lufthansa, found the combination of dryness and low pressure reduces the sensitivity of taste buds to sweet and salty foods by around 30 per cent.

In these conditions, umami-rich foods (like a bloody Mary) taste way better than they would on the ground.

Consider this permission to booze up your next long-haul. Thanks, science!

Source: Why you should always order a bloody Mary when flying at 30,000 feet – 9Travel

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Random sensory quotes

That’s the secret – to distract the senses. Have I told you my theory about them? I think that our sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing are all calibrated for the enjoyment of a perfect world. But since the world is imperfect, we must put blinders on the senses.

— Rohinton Mistry