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Food memories

I have written in recent weeks that the taste experience is so much more than just taste. The thing that affects the eating-experience that I find most fascinating is memories.

A clear example of how memories affect our perciverance of taste I got to experience when I was at a wine tasting some years ago. We got to taste a rather complex white wine where there were many aromas you could find. Others who participated described scents such as: wet soil, burnt sticks, dry leaves, a little leather and a little fruity. They pulled faces quite a bit and it was clear that they did not appreciate the aroma of the mentioned wine. When I felt the scent, I was transferred to my childhood and I became eager to describe what I experienced. "It smells like wild raspberry bushes after a summer rain," I said with a big smile. The others looked at me wide-eyed and could not understand at all what I meant. And while most of them did not appreciate the mentioned wine, for me it was among the best I have ever tasted.

It got even funnier when I told my sister about this incident. And when I said "it smelled like wild raspberry bushes after a summer rain", she replied "you mean by the Big Rock?". She could directly on my description say where this scent was present in our upbringing. It would have been interesting to see if she would have experienced the same scent of the mentioned wine and also found it preferable.

Memories combined with expectation will affect how we perceive what we put in our mouths. If a scent triggers a good memory, then you will be more likely to perceive the taste as good as well. But it is also true if the opposite if something triggers a bad memory, we will have a harder time appreciating the taste of that food. But everything about expectations is even more complex than that. Which I wrote about last week.

Until next time, remember: Only eat what you enjoy and enjoy all you eat!


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