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Why We Taste Foods Differently: You Say “Yuck” I Say “Yum”!

By September 7, 2016October 25th, 2016Savory Cuisine Corner
good food bad food

Sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste.

These are our primary “senses” that have been a topic of research and discussion for decades, if not for hundreds of years. What’s a “sense” you may ask and what does it have to do with yummy or yucky food?

According to Wikipedia, for the purposes of this blog, a “sense is a physiological capacity of organisms that provides data for, perception.” While the five I listed above are all important to us, I am going to focus on taste since is all about food. (I should mention here that while smell and sight have a strong influence on how foods taste to us, a discussion of interrelated senses could result in a book and not a short blog!)

As we have discussed in other blogs over the years, there are five basic taste sensations: sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami.

In addressing this topic, I would like to follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) theory. That’s why I reviewed a number of articles that did an excellent job of compiling basic information about taste. From these articles, I’ve isolated some statements to share with you as quick-and-easy-to-read food for thought facts. These points may generate some ‘ah-ha’ moments about why you might say “yum” while others say “yuck” to certain foods.

You can no doubt relate to some of these facts in the same way that I did. That’s why I included some personal comments after each “fact” that I found in my readings.

“Taste is a product of more than just buds on your tongue. It’s a combination of how a food smells, looks, and sounds. When we eat celery, it has to crunch. When we drink coffee, we expect a certain aroma.”

          Nothing says “blah” more than a piping hot cup of my favorite espresso when I have a cold and am congested. I might as well be drinking tap water.

“Flavor and taste seem like the same thing, but hold your nose when you’re eating and you’ll quickly draw a distinction.”

          Ditto to my comment above about not being able to smell the espresso. Waste of money.

Read on (part 2) about why some of us just can’t stand lima beans or Brussels sprouts while others actually enjoy eating these foods!:  

Kaye is an author and consulting nutritionist with more than 15 years’ experience representing clients in the food industry, providing strategic leadership and consulting on meal planning, recipe development, consumer-focused educational materials relating to food and nutrition, science-based communications, and media relations. Read more about her background on the About page.

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