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Ever study your tongue in the mirror? During a bout of absolute boredom, I did, and what I saw amazed me! After substantial research, I learned that my pink little flapping magical muscle is one complicated machine — made up of millions of taste buds that allow me to taste sweet, bitter, sour and salt. Without it, I couldn’t tell the difference between Stout and Sardine juice!

The importance of the ability to taste can be traced back to the times of early man. It was through their sense of taste, in large part, that our ancestors were able to survive, and that we are able to determine what beer is our favorite!

In primal terms, the salt-tasting buds told us that by eating certain foods we could replace vital salt lost to sweat and other body fluids. They also prevented us from drinking dangerous salt water, encouraging us to drink fresh water instead.

Taste that sweetness? Our tongue tells us what is sugary good. A sour taste is warning us that what we are ingesting may make us sick. And if the bitter-detectors sound their alarm, we may have something in our mouths that just could be poisonous.

While all taste buds are capable of detecting all flavors, there are experts in their respective fields, and their offices are located in different areas of the tongue. Sweet-detectors are on the tip of the tongue, near the front door, ready to help you enjoy things like chocolate; while the salt-detectors can be found on either side. Want to avoid tasting something sour? Try by-passing the back sides of your tongue, as these detectives occupy the corner offices. In for a bitter experience? The bitter buds occupy the office at the very back of your tongue. Exercise that amazing muscle, as you enjoy this month’s selections from your favorite Beer of the Month Club!

ASK MR. BEERHEAD: JENN WEBSTER OF STANTON, LONG ISLAND, ASKS: “HERE’S A TEASER FOR YOU. I KNOW I CAN DRINK, BAKE, COOK AND WASH MY HAIR WITH BEER. ANYTHING ELSE?”

Although it’s beyond me what else anybody would want to do with beer other than drink it, I am up for your challenge, though you may not want to waste beer this way. (Did I say “waste”?? I meant “use.” Sure I did . . .)

If you happen to spill some beer, soak it up with a soft cloth. Then use that cloth to gently rub the gunk off anything metal that’s dirty or oily — like buttons, jewelry or metal trinkets. It dissolves the gunk, leaving the metal sparkling. Seriously! I’m not making this up!

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Tracie Burket
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