June 12, 2024   2:36pm

Text Size

Family, Friends & You On Harriett's Mind Secrets & Musings Travel & Work

Out-of-towners: Learn some respect!

I’ve been thinking about space lately. The physical kind.

My office is located in Soho, and this time of year hoards of tourists gum up the sidewalks. They don’t seem to get that a sideWALK is just that — for WALKING, as the name denotes. Not a sideSTOP for chatting in groups¦ or to look up at buildings¦ or to stand four across so no one can pass. These people never note they’re in the way of those who actually LIVE here. And, in order to move on, we must now parry in and out of whatever space is left just to go forward. Sooo frustrating!

Then, a friend’s son was a houseguest. As I’m lucky enough to have a rooftop terrace, he decided (and I only found out later) to sunbath in the nude. Now, I have nothing against this philosophically. After all, I’ve shed my own swimsuit striding along French beaches with nary a thought. So I wondered why this made me uncomfortable, and realized it was because this was IN THE CITY — without regard for neighbors who may not want to have fully frontal views across the way.  Am I being overly sensitive?

Recently, basking in his own culture, a co-worker passing through went barefoot in my office, never stopping to consider that this was a place for BUSINESS, not his personal home.  Shamefully, I didn’t rebuke him as I was short on time and too caught up with my own presentation.  But, this was purely disrespectful (and, frankly, embarrassing as my clients walked in).

Most days, I hop a subway where New Yorkers notoriously avoid others’ gazes — what tourists call “being unfriendly,” but that’s not what it is. It IS having regard for others’ spaces and not wanting to invite someone into your own, particularly when your concerns are elsewhere. Some days you may be happy to give directions or make suggestions. But there is no requirement to welcome others, particularly where you don’t even get to select your seatmates.

Living in a densely packed environment, one learns to consider others. This is far different than inhabiting farmland or a beach community or a town where cars are the primary way of getting around. In those places there are fields, yards and even fences to protect your space.

So, OUT-OF-TOWNERS! Rather than putting down how busy¦ and harried¦ and unfeeling … and hurried New Yorkers are, think about it.

Maybe it is YOU who needs to learn and earn a little more respect from others.


| Share your thoughts
Food, Fitness & Health Secrets & Musings

Trading your Desk Chair for an Exercise Ball

Back an April we ran across the article, “Sitting All Day: Worse For You Than You Might Think,” on NPR.org. Not cause for immediate alarm since the health risks of having sedentary jobs is pretty obvious and almost certainly trumped by our regular exercise regimen… until we realized it wasn’t.

| Share your thoughts
Food, Fitness & Health News to Know

Sweet taste is genetic

Remember when you said: “Yuk. That dessert’s too sweet!” And your good friend said: “What? It’s tastes perfect to me!” Well, those different reactions are the result of your genes rather than your sophisticated palettes.

This is according to Nathan Gray in foodnavigator.com, who reports a “Review highlights genetic variations in sweet taste.” (Must tell you, I learned this awhile ago on 23andMe, who uses your DNA to give you insights on some 100 personal traits, bitter and sweet taste being among them.)

But, on to the review and its implications for the types of foods manufacturers might create. We quote:

“Better understanding of the genetic factors behind the considerable variation in sweet taste perception and preferences may help to create foods that are better accepted by consumers, say scientists.”

The new review, published in Flavour and Fragrance Journal and funded by grants from the US National Institute for Health (NIH) and the Ajinomoto Amino Acid Research Program, highlights that although learning mechanisms contribute to variations in sweet taste, much of our difference in preference is genetically determined according to ongoing studies using the mouse model with reviews led by Dr Alexander Bachmanov from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, USA. Bachmanov said: These genes are likely involved in central mechanisms of sweet taste processing, reward and/or motivation. … Variation of the sweet taste receptor genes contributes to differences in sweet taste perception within and between species.

The authors added that the review illustrates the complex genetics of sweet taste preferences and its impact on human nutrition and health. However, they explained that by identifying genes responsible for within- and between-species variation in sweet taste, research can provide tools to better control food acceptance in humans and other animals.

Sweet taste

Dr. Bachmanov and his colleagues explained that the sense of taste has probably evolved to allow animals to choose and consume appropriate food.

For example, the authors said that sugars are important nutrients for animals from many different species ranging from insects to mammals. In animals from many species, sugars are recognized by the taste system and evoke appetitive consummatory responses.

They noted that in addition to sugars, a wide range of other chemicals (such as sweeteners), also evoke the sensation of sweetness in humans and are palatable to many other animals. As such, Bachmanov and his team said that sweet taste is a powerful factor influencing food acceptance.

The reviews said that although appetite responses to sweet taste stimuli are inborn in many animals, they are also often modulated by environment and depend on genetic factors. The interactive mechanisms of sweet taste suggest that it is a part of a complex ingestive behaviour and is likely to be determined by multiple genes, they said

Review details

Bachmanov and his colleagues noted several examples of differences in sweet taste preferences among species of vertebrate animals, adding that many mammals differ in preferences for artificial sweeteners.

Despite nearly universal preference for sugars, the chicken and Felidae species (domestic cat, tiger, lion and cheetah) are not attracted to sugars and other sweeteners, they said.

They reported that variation in the T1R (sweet taste) receptors plays an important role in these differences in sweet taste preferences.

The review also noted that humans differ in their perception of sweet taste: One of the best known examples of this variation is a sweet liking phenotype: in sweet-likers’, hedonic ratings of sucrose solutions monotonously increase with increasing concentrations, while in sweet-dislikers’ at higher sucrose concentrations the ratings decrease said Bachmanov and his co-workers.

They said the mechanisms underlying this variation inhuman sweet taste, including sweet-liker’ and sweet-disliker’ phenotype could be complex and may involve peripheral or central taste processing, could be genetically determined and acquired, or could depend on interaction between genetic and environmental factors.

Nevertheless, genetic factors explain at least part of variation in sweet taste preferences in humans, they said.

What does this mean for franken-food down the road. TBD. But, next time you’re “having a discussion” with someone over the merits of a given meal, remember, it’s just in your genes — and theirs.



Source: Flavour and Fragrance Journal
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/ffj.2074
Genetics of sweet taste preferences
Authors: A.A Bachmanov, N.P Bosak, W.B. Floriano, M.Inoue, et al

| Share your thoughts
Secret's Service

FYI: Kate’s Paperie fans!

Kate’s Paperie is one of those very special New York stores — a wonderland of papers, stationery, gift items, ideas, and inspiration for all sorts of events, dinner parties, graphic design needs, ad infinitum.  If you love Kate’s as much as I do, you’ll be VERY disappointed to learn that two of their stores — in Soho and on the Upper East Side — have closed. Sob! However, for the next few weeks, Kates can be found at a pop-up store at 11 Lafayette Street (between 8th Street/Astor Place and 4th), and word is that this store will be moving back to Soho, but don’t know where or when. Meanwhile, they still have their Campo Marzio At Kate’s Paperie Boutique, the kiosk at Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle. We love you Kate’s!!!

Kate’s Paperie Astor Place POP-up Shop
411 Lafayette
Open: Mon-Sat. 1:100 am – 8:00 pm, Sun. 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

| Share your thoughts
Most Popular Posts

The Top Items