Brain damaged Chowhounds?
Interesting article in this morning's New York Times Magazine, about the workings of the brain. In particular, this passage made me wonder about some of us (You know who you are... : D)
"Opportunities for observing the human mental circuitry in action have, until recent times, been almost nonexistent, mainly because of a lack of live volunteers willing to sacrifice their brains to science. To get clues on how the brain works, scientists had to wait for people to suffer sometimes gruesome accidents and then see how the ensuing brain damage affected their abilities and behavior. The results could be puzzling. Damage to the right frontal lobe, for example, sometimes led to a heightened interest in high cuisine, a condition dubbed gourmand syndrome. (One European political journalist, upon recovering from a stroke affecting this part of the brain, profited from the misfortune by becoming a food columnist.)"
If I remember correctly Jeffrey Steingarten wrote a good article about this once and had himself tested for the syndrome.
I zeroed in on that, too, and noted that it only said he had a "heightened interest." It didn't say that his tastebuds were more sensitive or that he derived more pleasure from eating. Also, that it specified fine dining, so I suppose that means he still couldn't appreciate the 60c pork buns at Mei Lai Wah.