Science Knows Why You Crave Bloody Marys on Airplanes

That craving for tomato juice or a Bloody Mary that comes over you in airplanes, as perhaps nowhere else? Blame the roar of the engines.
Related To:

Photo by: Bob Ingelhart ©Bob Ingelhart

Bob Ingelhart, Bob Ingelhart

That craving for tomato juice or a Bloody Mary that comes over you in airplanes, as perhaps nowhere else? Blame the roar of the engines.

Cornell University food scientists say airplane noise, which tends to hover around 85 decibels, can affect travelers' taste buds — suppressing their taste for sweet stuff and boosting the taste of umami-rich foods like tomato juice.

The study, published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, “confirmed that in an environment of loud noise, our sense of taste is compromised,” Cornell assistant professor Robin Dando told the Cornell Chronicle. “Interestingly, this was specific to sweet and umami tastes, with sweet taste inhibited and umami taste significantly enhanced. The multisensory properties of the environment where we consume our food can alter our perception of the foods we eat.”

Dando and co-author Kimberly Yan were not the first to notice passengers’ midflight yen for umami. The German airline Lufthansa, after observing that tomato juice was flying off beverage carts as fast as beer, commissioned a private study last fall; it indicated that cabin pressure boosted perceptions of the taste of tomato juice.

The studies may compel a reconsideration of airline menus, with more umami flavors on offer and fewer sweets. Anything that improves airplane food can be for only the greater collective good, right?

And of course you don’t have to be a mile high to enjoy a Bloody Mary. Here are four recipes to enjoy even if you’re just hanging around on solid ground:

Keep Reading

Next Up

Reinvented: Bloody Marys 5 Ways

Food Network Kitchens' share their five favorite “hair of the dog” Bloody Mary hangover cure recipes.

Best Sipped Out of a Mug: Warming Holiday Cocktails — Fall Fest

Kick back with warming holiday cocktails that are best sipped out of a mug.

Raise a Glass to Cinco de Mayo

Check out a few of Food Network's favorite easy-to-make cocktails ideal for celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

Best 5 Thanksgiving Cocktails

Check out Food Network's top-five Thanksgiving cocktails from Giada, Sunny, Alton and more chefs to find the ultimate collection of drinks for the holiday.

The 9 Best Cocktails to Toast to Thanksgiving

Raise a glass to the holiday with these crowd-pleasing cocktails.

Alton Brown's Best Bets for a Summer Bar

Alton Brown gave us the low-down on his favorite drink for summer, which trends he is totally over and how you can best stock your at-home bar.

Chefs’ Picks: Apres Ski

Four ski town chefs divulge their favorite apres-ski dishes, drinks and destinations.

Chefs’ Picks: Frozen Cocktails

Chill out with the pros’ picks for the coolest frozen drinks across the country.