How do you eat?
And for those who answered ‘with a knife and fork’ you may be right, in a literal sense, but for those that replied by saying ‘with your hands’ you are onto a winner.
The real question is how do you eat with your senses?
Taste is an obvious one, as is sight, but what about touch, smell and sound?
According to researchers at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, people have forgotten how to engage all their senses when consuming their food. By default, Shona Miller, a student at the institution claims, the majority of us rely too much on the visual aspects of a dish as we have become accustomed to being bombarded with colour and imagery through a continuous exposure to advertising.
“There’s so much going on,” she says. “We don’t pay attention to little details.”
But how can that be rectified?
Shops and restaurants are generally going to refrain from allowing customers to handle food before it is purchased – hygiene reasons are a good enough explanation for this – and the increased amount of packaging and aroma contamination means that smelling items isn’t necessarily as easy as sticking your nose near it!
However, once a meal is ready to be served, smell plays an integral role: only around twenty percent of how a food tastes is down how we interpret the flavours, the vast majority can be attributed to its aromas says Dr. Carl Philpott. “Most people say if you can’t taste it, you can’t smell it.”
In order to improve our overall dining sensation, it is suggested that we all simply take our time a little more and explore all aspects of the food from engaging our six taste receptors, to feeling its contrasting textures, to listening to how it has been prepared.
Next time you are eating, maybe your evening meal tonight, hold your nose whilst you take a bit and see if the flavour is different.
Chances are it probably will be.