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After our discussion last week about natural and artificial flavors, I thought I would share this article with you guys. The article is from a food blog for college kids that I’m actually really involved with called Spoon University. (Check them out if you’re interested, the articles are pretty great). This one was about food that is named something misleading and the one I was particularly surprised by was truffle oil.


Truffle oil is a flavor often added to French fries, mac and cheese, and lots of other dishes. I always believed that the flavoring was truly derived from actual truffles which are a strongly flavored, quite expensive type of mushroom. Because truffles are so expensive, dishes that contain truffle oil are often a little pricier, but still not as expensive as something with pieces of truffle.


I was shocked to find out that truffle oil does not come from truffle at all but from a random chemical called¬†thioether that smells and tastes like truffle. I don’t plan to stop eating things with truffle oil because it’s so delicious but it’s a bit concerning that the flavor has no connection to its natural source and that we get charged extra for the false advertising.


Here’s the link to the article if you want to learn about other foods with misleading names.¬†http://umd.spoonuniversity.com/kitchen/wtf-thats-ordered-foods-misleading-names/

2 Responses to “Chemicals creating flavors”

  1. llituchy says:

    I as well have always thought that truffle flavored foods are made with truffle oil that comes from real truffles. I am shocked to learn that it actually comes from combining a chemical with olive oil. That is quite misleading! Restaurants always mark up the prices of dishes that contain truffle oil and I have always thought it was justified because I know that truffles are so rare and expensive to purchase. But I guess it makes sense that truffle oil is synthetic because it is a widely used ingredient that would not be as prevalent without the oil. Even food chains like Noodles and Co. use truffle oil in their dishes. While it makes sense that truffle oil is created from a chemical, I think it is misleading for businesses to greatly mark up dishes with truffle oil because it does not actually come from real truffles. Yet, this probably won’t stop me from eating truffled flavored foods!
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truffle_oil

  2. my_nguyen says:

    So I went through the Spoon University website and was very surprised about how a lot of food that we considered “fancy” or “special” is just false advertisement. For example, I read that natural wasabi is very difficult to cultivate and can only grow in Japan, therefore the wasabi we eat is just horseradish, starch, mustard and food coloring. As weird as this sounds, I actually that false advertisement is actually a good thing because as long as it doesn’t have any negative health effects. Like you guys said before, you won’t stop eating truffled flavored foods just because you know it’s not real, I rather be ignorant and think that I’m actually eating special food when in reality, it’s just different chemicals mixed together.

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