63 – Taste

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I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Take your pick – think about your favorite food – or your most recent meal – or what are you going to eat at your next meal. Better yet, how would you describe its taste? Think beyond a mere similarity and contrast statement as it tastes like chicken.

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Taste is not superfluous – taste is both serious and fun. Chefs pride themselves on achieving a certain taste in their culinary creation, yet how many of us take time to taste beyond the obvious taste associated with chewing and swallowing?

We make conclusion statements as I like it or not – but can explain why? Can we distinguish and describe flavors? That’s when taste is serious and fun!

I think about how taste serves as a protection mechanism against poisons while serving as a basis for cravings. Babies do not like bitterness, but over time, the same person may end up enjoying coffee and its version of bitter.

I think about how a sommelier is trained to distinguish flavors in wine – while to some wine drinkers, simple terms in tasting notes as fruity, dry, oaky, citrus, and more may be reasons to like or dislike a wine. In school, we learned about taste as sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Today, we add savory (umami) to that list. However, have you ever tried to describe the taste of a cherry to someone who can’t distinguish tastes? Better yet, to someone without a sense of taste?

Taste is serious and fun – yet to living things with that ability, taste is about meeting nutritional and survival needs. For us humans, taste starts with nerve endings primarily located on the tongue.

I like black licorice – and that means I also enjoy raw fennel – but that distinct taste is not for everyone. Interestingly, some people enjoy anise and fennel – but not black licorice.

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On the other hand, I consider the taste of caraway seeds as evil – but others love it. I didn’t enjoy sauerkraut as a kid – but today I can accept the taste. So I wonder, how much of our personal preferences lie in our DNA versus how much is learned?

I’m of Italian descent, so some automatically assume I’m a lover of garlic. Well, that’s not true for me, but I also believe garlic’s overabundance in food masks other flavors.

The sense of taste delivers the joys of culinary delights. The sense of taste distinguishes excellence from mediocrity. The sense of taste is one aspect of what makes a meal memorable. Yet, taste is personal – but deeply personal for those who use it.

We can close our eyes, then use our imagination to feel the mood, smell the food, chew to notice the texture, and taste the food. Then to swallow, sip a drink, taste, and smile – then open our eyes to more saliva in our mouth.

Taste is also a metaphor. People can have simple taste, good taste, sophisticated taste, and no taste in other aspects of life such as fashion, music, and even friends. The personality of some people is so unique and even complex that they are an acquired taste that develops over time. After all, not everyone likes anchovies.

As I walk on the beach, there are days I believe I can taste sea salt from the ocean in the air – then again, maybe that’s the smell influencing that thought. Nevertheless, I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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Next Post: Touch – Thursday 8 April @ 1 AM (Eastern US)

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90 thoughts on “63 – Taste”

  1. Beautiful presentation of the taste. As you say Frank, everyone has their tastes in the physiological and also artistic sense. A French saying goes “that the tastes and the colors are not discussed” but can be educated !
    In friendship
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Taste……that’s a big one! My likes and dislikes regarding food tasting have changed through the years…..but I have always enjoyed trying new foods and without the ability to taste that would NOT be as fun as it is! There’s also having “good taste” or “bad taste” in what we see and experience in the world of fashion, art, the written word – many things. Something can “leave a bad taste in our mouth” if we have not enjoyed it AT ALL like a really BAD movie for instance. I can remember getting advice from someone many MANY years ago that I should “taste every minute of life”……..which I have tried to do. Taste is a HUGE thing – much larger than enjoying a great burger or latte – that’s for sure! Great post again Frank.

    Pam

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pam,
      Definitely interesting how taste changes through the years – although I still have not accepted caraway (which I feel should be banned). But I’ve learned to accept sauerkraut – even polenta once every 5 years. Fortunately, I’ve always enjoyed bacon. Bad taste in fashion is a visual night nightmare! A good burger? Oh my …. right up my alley. The key is in the meat. Too many burgers are cooked as just plain meat – a big mistake – but the flavor of the grill is a positive. For several years, I was one of the Cincinnati Burger Guys. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning, Frank! You know I could talk about food and taste all day. Younger daughter is training to be a sommelier, so perhaps it is something in the genes. 😀
    I like anise and fennel, but not black licorice. (Though to be honest, it’s not something I’ve had in many years.) Caraway seeds are something I always had on the Jewish rye bread I grew up with. And I like garlic, too.
    When there is an ocean breeze, I can definitely smell/taste the salt.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Taste – one of my favorite senses. I went to see my granddaughter at college yesterday. Believe me when I say we did a lot of tasting yesterday. Yum is the best word for taste. Ha

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am fascinated by cooking shows. I love to watch the interplay of tastes. I have never cooked at that level but I have eaten in Michelin star restaurants. I’ve also eaten in dives that you would not want to walk on the floor and yet some of their food is exceptional. I’ve also eaten in fancy restaurants where the food was inedible. I am by no means a connoisseur but I’ve tasted army ants and moose and shark and fiddleheads. Food is an adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Food is unquestionably an adventure and I applaud your adventuresome attitude! I also chuckle because you’ve reminded me of a friend. We took him to a Thai restaurant, returned the menu without looking at it, and ordered, “Bring me something authentic.” Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I tend to be arm’s length with my garlic. Sometimes I’ll use it while other times I don’t want it around me. Cooking with it, ain’t one of my favorite things, truthfully. It’s too sensitive . . you have to keep to it and not let it go very long or it burns and then forget it.

    As for Julie London, THAT is a sultry musical taste.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I used to avoid all vegetables but now I will eat many – but not peas! I wonder if it’s because they tasted bitter? This gives me something to ponder… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The last time I walked the beach in Mexico, I was struck by all the scents from restaurants on the beach. Taste goes hand in hand with smell for me and can affect my appetite or lack thereof. I love the smell of toasted walnuts but get nauseous when black walnuts are found in any food. I know…so weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monika,
      Taste and smell are hand and glove by design. Restaurants and bakeries love to fill the outside air with their aromas because it’s free advertisement that triggers the brain. I’m sure there are restaurants in your area that you enjoy walking past. Now the walnut thing? Ok … I’ll settle for your weirdness … but hey … a toast to it. Clink! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I find that walking on the beach inspires my taste for more nutritious foods, which is why I often stop at the farmers market afterwards. It’s great to come home with a pile of fresh fruit and veggies after communing with nature. Yep, I’m one of those who hates licorice but likes fennel. I think I hate anise too, though I’ve only tried it in liquor. Fennel is wonderful roasted along with other veggies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paula,
      I can see how walking on the beach stimulates the urge for fresh foods …. including those who want fish and other aquatics. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on fennel, anise, and licorice. Interestingly, anise and fennel are the same. Actually, some grocery stores call fennel anise. However, many others consider fennel as the veggie and anise as the seeds. Well, the seeds from fennel. However, I’ve got the feeling there are different types of fennel, but I’m not sure. …. OH … roasted fennel? Fabulous! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely post Frank…. Taste one of those senses you take for granted every day…. Have you ever done the experiment of an imaginary Apple…. and holding it and then taking an imaginary bite out of it, feeling its sharp crunch and the juices…. sets my jaw a tingling or a lemon and doing the same..
    Now I have been on many wine tasting outings to the vineyards in France and German and Austria .. Now I never was too good at distinguishing the oaky and fruity… But enjoyed sipping and swallowing lol…. 🙂
    Loved the music too Frank….
    Have a wonderful week ahead my friend…. and your right too much garlic masks other tastes… I love garlic and grow it.. love it roasted in my home made tomato soup recipe 🙂

    Sending thoughts and hugs Frank 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue,
      The mind and imagination influence us. My mouth was watering reading your comment! In terms of distinguishing tastes in wine, well, a person can be trained. Some will catch on faster than others, and a few won’t go deeper than “it tastes like wine.” But like anything, it’s an art with a large body of knowledge. Cheers to taste!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Good afternoon Frank,

    As you know, I love to cook so taste, along with sight, scent and even sound are all important. If it smells foul, there are chances it will taste foul (though not always the case). I think losing my sense of taste would make me more than sad… then again, it might help remove the excess padding as nothing would entice me to eat it!
    Excellent choice in music for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dale,
      I imagine as you cook, you tune into smell and taste. The bummer is that the smell senses quickly get tired. I talked to a friend who lost taste and smell due to Covid, and she said she could eat anything because it doesn’t matter. …PS: I’m not surprised you enjoyed Julie London.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I just ate a banana. A bit late in the day and will probably result in indigestion. It’s funny but I like the taste and texture of bananas, but cook them and I am repulsed! No banoffee pie for me, thanks. I can’t even spell it 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pity my husband – I practically bathe in garlic (like in my shrimp scampi this evening). I also love black licorice. Can’t relate to your caraway aversion though!

    I feel sorry for those who have lost their sense of taste due to Covid. What a strange symptom!

    Having good taste in friends and music is important – clothes, not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My husband and younger daughter can eat very hot (spicy) food, but I’m much more of a spice wimp. I like to taste my food. 🙂 My husband says hot sauce enhances taste but not for me. Eating isn’t as interesting for my mom these days because she’s lost most of her sense of taste, not Covid-related, just age. It makes eating so much less enjoyable.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a lovely walk, Frank. As I sit here tonight I’m drinking a large glass of kombucha, a taste not everyone enjoys, but I love. It’s a fermented tea, if you’re not familiar. I have very few food or beverage tastes I don’t enjoy, but I’ve sometimes wondered if maybe my taste buds aren’t as sensitive as some people, which may prevent some tastes from seeming too strong or offensive. I agree with you about it seeming that I can taste the salty air at the beach, and yet it probably is related to the intermingling of the other senses. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      No doubt that generally speaking, age affects taste and smell. Guess we’ll have to work on keeping it sharp. Kombucha? Well, I had to look it up – tea fungus … sounds delightful! Enjoy … and I’ve got the feeling some family members just roll their eyes when you mention it. However, is anyone fighting you for it?

      Like

  16. I wonder if we’re getting more sophisticated in our tastes? My small grandson has always loved olives and blue cheese, neither of which would have been tolerated by a child of my generation. And he’s quite tolerant of spices too – they certainly enhance most foods, I think!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret,
      I’m not surprised at a youngster enjoying olives … I’m guessing black. But blue cheese? Definitely a surprise … so maybe green olives, too! I wonder how much of taste preferences are genetic vs learned. I have no clue, but it is interesting to think about. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Frank, I’m half Italian, so that’s another thing we have in common! Have you noticed how, when you think or smell of something like vinegar, your taste buds produce hot spit?? And you do realize, of course, how sometimes, when dogs won’t eat a new food, it’s because they sense something “off” about it? Like maybe it was tainted? Fascinating subject here today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie,
      Cheers to a bit of our common heritage! I’m through and through …. well, I’m sure genetic testing would say not so fast! I know that about dogs – then again, compared to us, they have super sniffers! The vinegar and hot spit thing is new to me … but I will tune in. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. A tasty post indeed!
    I got called away yesterday, before I could comment.
    My brain is dizzy with tax time this and that’s for which I have no taste, and want to run away.
    🍷 is something we both have a taste for.
    So, I thank you for this lovely beach walk, and raise a tasty glass or 2 to your good taste, tastes and tastings!
    🍷CLINK🍷
    PS: Adore that Julie London song!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Seductive song for us to listen to while reading this very interesting post, aFrank.
    After Covid and, at times, still today my sense of taste has diminished. It hasn’t bothered me
    since food is way, way down at the bottom of my list. Rare … right???
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isadora,
      Covid has brought taste back into the news. If nothing else, some people are turning into their taste as a self-diagnosis of symptoms (which is a good thing). Hope yours comes back to full strength! Julie London’s voice is seductive! I’ll have to figure a way of featuring more of her on walks.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Isadora,
          Interesting question, so I’ll answer it with a twist. Freshness is one variable but so are the seasons. For instance, I don’t care for over-salting – and – fresh or not – home, packaged, and restaurant foods can be guilty. That said possessed foods (as a whole) have a tendency to be too salty – and in some cases too much garlic. Even again, as we know, foods in restaurants aren’t necessarily fresh. In other words, the answer to your question is complex. In terms of a new concert series, thanks but I laugh because this place tends to be specialized – but thanks for the thought and support..

          Liked by 1 person

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