Biologists in France claim they have discovered a sixth flavour that can be tasted by humans. Almost 25 years after the discovery of 'umami' (the flavour of 'pleasant savoriness'), experts now claim that our enjoyment of food can be enhanced by the taste of cruelty.
"The French nation have known for some time that for a meal to be truly delicious, you have to kill an animal imaginatively", explained Dr Marcus Desard. "Force feeding 'une duck grande' to bursting point, drowning a bunting in cognac, or perhaps just kicking a horse in the 'ballons': our top chefs know the secrets of wonderful meals. A pinch of assault really draws out the flavours."
The discovery comes after years of research. "We prepared identical meals from two groups of chickens. One brood was fed on corn in a grassy field, while the other was kept in a tiny pen in our lab, and fed on kitkats and bluetac. There was always an assistant on hand to shout disparaging remarks, and show them pictures of a fox licking its lips. Once they were properly upset, we drowned them in Tizer and fed them to a control group with no experience of gourmet food, a group we call 'Germans'."
The results were remarkable. "The abused chickens were over 73% more luscious than the happy chickens. We'd expected to see some link between bad husbandry and good cheffery, but this was beyond our dreams. And we French spend a lot of time dreaming."
British supermarkets were quick to react to the report, immediately removing all free-range produce from their shelves. "It didn't take as long as you might think", said Donald Withers, a spokesman for Tescos. "But this research does go some way to explaining why Turkey Twizzlers are so gorgeous."
The research team is now looking to see if cuteness can affect the new taste. "Our work is showing some early promise. We chased a panda up a tree with a bat with nails in, and then knocked it down by throwing bricks at it. We all agreed it made the finest burger we'd ever tasted but we're still waiting for the 'control' to die of natural causes."
Gordon Ramsay is planning a cookery show that promotes the new flavour. "His food is already excellent, partly because of the secondary cruelty emanating from his brutalised staff", explained the show's producer. "But now he's discovered that everything tastes better if you kick it to death first, we're confident he'll get another Michelin star. He might even win back 'Restaurant of the Year' from McDonalds."