Can you tell if a potato chip is crispy or crunchy, just by the sound it makes when you eat it? See for yourself in this “ears”-on activity!
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Whether you think what you’re eating is crispy or crunchy isn’t a perfectly clear distinction, even according to scientists. One thing we do know? The difference between crispy and crunchy may be more in your ears than in your mouth!
Listen to the two recordings of someone eating two different kinds of potato chips on this page. For each recording, decide if it sounds like they are eating a crispy chip or crunchy chip (you might want to write down your thoughts on a piece of paper). Then, check out “Food for Thought” on the bottom of this page to learn more about how what we hear while we eat affects what we think of food’s texture.
When we did this experiment in the Young Chefs’ Club lab, nearly all of the listeners rated chip #1 as crispy and chip #2 as crunchy. Did you rate the two chips the same way?
Chip #1 was a classic, thin potato chip and Chip #2 was a thicker, kettle-style potato chip. In general, foods that people rate as crispy are thinner and make higher-pitched sounds when we eat them. Foods that people rate as crunchy are thicker and make lower-pitched sounds when we eat them.
Have your family and friends listen to these two chip sounds. Did rate the chips the same way you did? Next, try conducting your own crispy-crunchy experiments in The Battle of Crispy Versus Crunchy.