The NY Times reports on this study out of MIT which showed that expectations have quite an influence on how food tastes. In the study, participants who were told that a beer contained a special ingredient preferred that beer over a comparison beer (even when the so called special ingredient was actually a drop of vinegar). So for the foodies out there, how much do you actually trust what your taste buds tell you? I especially wonder about what I'll call the find. You know, that little out of the way place that none of your friends have tried yet, the decor is shoddy, or a little bit idiosyncratic, and the owner, who hovers about the place is somehow 'authentic' or old school. Isn't that the kind of place the food geek just dreams about having up his sleeve to impress his friends? How much do you attribute the taste of those pan-fried noodles to the actual flavor, and how much do you attribute to the fact that you're eating them in a hut with a corrugated tin roof?