To be able to enjoy what you eat, you first need to know what we're talking about when we talk about taste and flavors... which I mentioned earlier. There are primarily three different things we talk about and the complicated thing is that we often talk about all three more or less at the same time when we talk about how food taste. These three are the sensory taste, the taste experience and the perception of taste .
1. The Sensory Taste
The sensory taste is simply what we perceive with our taste buds. Which is purely objective. These are chemical substances that our taste buds can detect. Then we make a slightly more subjective assessment to categorize and recognize the taste in the brain. Today we agree that there are at least five basic tastes, which are: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. There could be a number of more, but also that there is a spectrum within especially the bitter taste for which we have at least 25 different receptors. Salt and sour have their own form of receptors, which can probably also detect some other minerals. The receptors for sour and salt also differ in that they can determine the amount of salt and sour, while the other receptors rather indicate whether there are some sweet or not.
2. The Taste Experince
However, the taste experience is something much greater than what we experience with the sense of taste. This is how we experience food with all our senses combined. Here it starts to become more subjective as the brain prioritizes the impressions differently, depending on genetics and background. In other words, here our taste begins to differ between people quite a lot. However, there is still a connection between the physical food and what we experience. If we eat an apple, it is probably crispy and juicy, which we hear and feel, we see the color and smell the aroma and the taste of sweetness and sourness when we eat it, which means that we can identify it as an apple objectively.
3. The Perception of Taste
The perception of taste is the completely subjective comprehension of taste, where we decide whether what we taste is good or not. A sweet-sour, crunchy, juicy apple I would say is delicious, but an unripe, hard and really sour apple I would not appreciate. But for someone who does not like apples, it does not matter how ripe the apple is, it will still find it disgusting. What is good or disgusting we can not determine objectively. Yet we often ask how others perceive the taste before we taste it ourselves. If someone else has said that it is good, we are more willing to perceive it as good ourselves. If we have good memories linked to the aroma and taste, we also have an easier time perceiving it as good. However, food that feels strange and unfamiliar, we have a harder time liking. But it is completely individual what we perceive as good or bad.
When we talk about taste, we often talk about all three of these forms of taste at once. I can say: that the apple was disgusting because it was hard and sour. Which is all three forms of taste in the same sentence. It's all about the taste, but describes three different parts of it: what I taste, what I experience and what I perceive. And that is what makes it complicated, but also fun.
I believe in focusing on trying to have food that taste good. I think it is more important to look at our attitude to food rather than trying to change the food itself to eat healthier. As long as we say "sweets are delicious" and "vegetables are boring", we have problems. Turn it around .... Say:"Fresh vegetables are delicious" and "most sweets are boring, since most of them taste just sweet". This is also a truth and next time I will delve more into how we talk about food and tastes.
Until then remember to only eat what you enjoy and enjoy all you eat!