About Us

Hi! I’m Grace, I’m from Singapore and I have an obsession with cooking, baking, eating ice creams, supermarket shopping, blogging and studying food. My mission in life is to fight food problems by gathering knowledge about food science, nutrition and technology, and sharing it with others in more digestible packages. I dream that one day, everyone who has ever crossed paths with me will be able to enjoy the same sinful pleasures of eating, without risking health nor budget, and that they too will propagate these seeds of knowledge.

I majored in Food Science and Technology at the National University of Singapore, with a half year exchange in the University of California (Davis) and a half year stint in the flavour industry. I am currently pursuing a double masters in Sensory Science at Wageningen University (Netherlands) and the University of Copenhagen, where I explore the multitude of factors that influence people’s eating behaviors and their impacts on health.

From September 2010 till May 2011, I had rooted myself in the Netherlands in attempt to unravel the mysteries of the pesky pine nut puzzle. You are welcome to explore the different pages of this blog to read about the research findings and to offer comments on your own personal experiences! I hope that this blog will help you to continue enjoying the wonderful values of pine nuts whilst avoiding pine mouth!

Special thanks goes to my supervisors:

Asst Prof Markus Stieger (far left) and Prof Kees de Graaf (left) of ‘Sensory Science and Eating Behavior’ group, and Asst Prof Jean-Paul Vincken (right) of Food Chemistry for their invaluable guidance!

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the many individuals who have contributed materials, knowledge and inspirations to this research!

[Update: 07 April 2012] I have graduated with my MSc in Dec 2011 and have returned to my home country with the hope to find funding to continue with researching the mechanisms behind these pine nut taste disturbances. As I am currently not active on this front, please contact the Sensory Sciences group of Wageningen University if you wish to contribute towards further research on this phenomenon. I will keep this blog available to all for the purposes of sharing the information.

20 Responses to About Us

  1. I am very grateful for your work and integrity. This is a serious issue for all that love pine seeds and pine trees. Thank you for the fantasitic resource and your efforts to find answers to the pine nut mystery.
    Penny Frazier –

  2. andre says:

    Aren’t you sick of pine nuts yet?

    • grrrrracey says:

      not yet Andre, but probably very soon, in the literal sense.😛 next week, more taste testing of pine nuts! Sorting the species within each problem sample and eating a few seeds species by species! I had tasted one of the ‘safer bets’ on thursday and I’m very glad to be spared this weekend to enjoy my meals haha.

  3. andre says:

    Metaphorically speaking…

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  5. Susie Iwaschina says:

    I filled out the survey but yet still have bitter taste in mouth. It has been over 4 weeks now and am concerned. I have read that some have it as long as 8 or 9 weeks. Can this be confirmed because I am getting worried that I may have something else. When I lick my lips, teeth or inside of my mouth I continue to have this bitter taste all the time even without eating food.
    Susie
    from MI, U.S.A.

  6. Gary Wolinsky says:

    Grace,

    I completed your questionnaire and I am grateful that you are investigating this phenomenon. I shared my experience with a friend who is working for a UN program focused on development of alternative livelihoods in Afghanistan. He said that there are lots of pine nuts there and he’s offerred to send samples if you are interested as I believe he would like to explore these as a product for harvest and export. Please advise and I can put him in touch with you.

  7. hanna says:

    Hi Grace, thank You for Your input and studies on the “pine-nut matter”. My first memories of beloved and “addictive” foods come from my early childhood days, when I was living in Rome ( I’m Polish and live now in Poland ) , Italy and picked my very own “pignas” to extract pine nuts from. When I had about a handful of pine nuts I would then crack them open ( what a smell…😉 and devour them in a blissfull 30 seconds – sweetness and well being is all that happened. Well, today my love for pine nuts has been killed by the odd – sounding ( and very true ) pine mouth syndrome. As most people afflicted , I’ve been eating and loving the little gems for ages until I came over a batch that I post factum identified as coming from China. As with most people ( googled the matter before setting out for the ER) , I got the biiter taste two days after having a huuuge amount of pine nuts ( both toasted and not ). It came with my morning coffee and is back anytime I eat or drink something. It’s been 3 full day now and I don’t see any improvement AT ALL. This is making my life miserable , especially since I’m supposed to be flying over to Singapore ( wonder how the chilli crab is going to taste while having this and whom should I sue for ruining it ?) in three days and from all I read , my chances of getting rid of the bitterness anytime soon aren’t exactly huge.
    Anyway – apart from the nuisance I really think something is seriously wrong here. I now read that most probably millions of people are being afflicted by something noone is able to explain – isn’t that a valid enough reason to get the culprits (chinese pine nuts) off the market until further etsting and legitimate answers are given to the public? How do we know it only afflicts our taste? Are we sure this will not bear consequences for our future health? Why isn’t anyone acting on this?
    Again, thanks for Your input and I sure hope someone will come up with some answers or /and actions very soon.

    Hanna

  8. Heather Barker says:

    Dear Grace,
    Thank you very much for all the information you’ve provided on the issue of pine mouth. I’m still waiting for the bitter taste in my mouth to subside (been 2 days now) but at least I now know the cause of it (although it has taken two lots of homemade pesto for me to realise that it was the pine nuts!). I won’t be buying pine nuts again which is unfortunate as I love making pesto😦. Anyway it’s a shame that the issue is not being taken more seriously so that pine nuts can continue to be enjoyed across the world. I’m going to contact Which? ( a consumer group in the UK) and let them know. Good luck with your work at Nestle.
    Kind regards
    Heather, UK

  9. Alex says:

    Thanks for this excellent work.
    This is the only straw for my condition which appears very similar. The only problem, I didn’t ate pine nuts in the last month or so. Still the syntoms are almost the same: a bad aftertaste and smell that is not so much bitter, but more like burnt toast with a metallic part in it.
    The only link I have is an oilmixture I used for my wooden cut boards in the kitchen. This mixture might contain pine-oil the distributer said. Because I oiled and polished about 15 boards several times I inhaled the oil fumes and had lots of skin contact for several days. Interestingly the PNS appeared about one week later and started to peak after another week. I still keep a sample of this oil (Made in Denmark) if someone is interested.

    • Randy says:

      Hi Alex, could you please let us know the brand of oil you used on your cutting boards? And perhaps where you purchased it?
      ThanksS

  10. Tiago says:

    Hello,

    Where can I get the Chinese Pine Nut HandBook?

    Compliments,

  11. Belle says:

    I notice that this thread is at least 4 years old now, however wondering if you are still using it? As I believe I am suffering from the dreaded PNS!

  12. Libby says:

    My husband and I started to have sour tasting mouth after and during what we ate. After research
    I came to find out about Pine Nut Syndrome and indeed thinking back up to couple days ago we both ate pine nuts purchased in a health food store. I will make them aware and wish I knew where I can send the nuts to for testing.

  13. Alyona says:

    Hi Grace!

    I am working on the pine nut topic with the similar mission that drove you while making this blog^to disseminate the knowledge about the pine nut origin and quality. I am wondering if you are still on this topic and could be interested in cooperating, taking the vast knowledge base and the passion of yours.
    I’m sorry I couldn’t find how to get in touch with you privately, but I would be very grateful if you could have a chat with me regarding this topic.

    Thanks!

  14. Roland says:

    Everybody talking about varieties, but nobady talking where to get seedlings or seeds for growing. If anyone knows where to buy in the usa ?

  15. Angelle Guyette says:

    I had it I think it was in 2011. Lasted almost a month until a health guru friend gave me a cure. And a Geologist gave me a plausible explanation that could be easily tested with hand-held Geiger counters. Anybody game?

    The cure for me was a combination of the “master cleanse” (apple cider vinegar and lemon with cayenne)

    And Bentonite clay.

    It worked almost overnight after a day’s 4 course treatment. Three days & it was completely gone.

    Another friend, a geologist, suggested that these pine nuts may actually be radioactive because they could easily have spent time on ships traveling in close proximity to the Japanese Nuclear disaster, or in containers that were contaminated.

    He said it would make sense that the guru’s cure would work so quickly because that is the exact treatment for radiation poisoning.

    He suggested testing pine nuts from China, Korea, and Russia with Geiger counters. Has anyone tried this?

    Any time I have even begun to have a hint of that taste again after eating in restaurants where food may have pine nuts, I go for the cleanse and Bentonite. Poof! Gone. (Knock on wood)

    Hope that helps someone else!

  16. Hi Grace,
    I maintain a weblog about Stange Syndromes, which is – not surprisingly – called Strange Syndromes. I’ve now added the Pine Nut Syndrome and shamelessly used one of your photos. See here: http://strangesyndromes.blogspot.nl/2015/09/pine-nut-syndrome.html

  17. talha rana says:

    Its great information and really helpful. Have u ever conducted a study on pakistani pine nut ?

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