This is going to sound like an early April Fool’s joke, but I promise, it’s not. Researchers at Tokyo University have developed an “Electro Fork”, which creates salted flavors into unsalted foods, by using electricity as a seasoning. I kid you not. The device works by stimulating the tongue to taste salt, however it can be modified to make foods taste more sour, and to simulate different textures.
According to CNet.com, “The project was recently put through a successful trial run at the restaurant in Tokyo on March 24. The venue offered a saltless five course meal, consisting of a salad, pork cutlets, fried rice, meatloaf and cake.”
The fork is about the width of a large ball point pen (remember those?) According to the university website, the device can stand up to restaurant dishwashers, has a battery lasts through a week of average restaurant use, and will be available with a large rack that charges the utensils as needed. I see a couple of possible issues. 1. In a busy restaurant, hundreds of forks may be in use at any one time. The charging rack would have to be 50′ long! 2. What happens if the batter runs out during a meal? Server: “How is your meal?” Diner: “It’s fantastic! Perfect balance of saltiness!” Server: “glad to hear it.” Diner: “Oh wait, now it tastes like crap!”