Why Do Some People Hate Raw Tomatoes?


Jennifer Ouellette scours the science:

People like me just lack certain key taste receptors, preventing us from appreciating the rich, sweet, meaty flavor of raw tomatoes that the rest of you are always rhapsodizing about. The problem is that tomatoes have something on the order of 400 volatile compounds and who knows which one of those (or combination thereof) might be responsible for the harsh reaction many of us experience in response to raw tomatoes?

It may be the same reason some people hate cilantro:

[Behavioral neuroscientist Charles J. Wysocki] conducted an experiment involving gas chromatography, a device that uses heat to separate the various molecules in something like cilantro, so subjects can take a whiff of each separate compound. People who like cilantro first detected the soapy scent, followed by the stronger citrus-y herbal scent we savor; but cilantro haters couldn’t smell the latter. At all.

(Photo: A reveler is splattered with squashed tomatoes during the 'Tomatina' fight in Bunol, near Valencia, on August 31, 2011. Tens of thousands of revellers splattered each other with 120 tonnes of squashed tomatoes in a gigantic annual food fight known as the Tomatina. The streets ran red with slippery juice as nearly 40,000 people, many stripped to the waist and drunk with sangria, pelted each other in the Plaza Mayor square and nearby streets of Bunol, eastern Spain. By German Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.)