“Eating is a multisensory experience” – Hestor Blumenthal
In The Perfect Meal, Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman explore the multi-sensory of eating. This is a great read for anyone interested in eating and drinking or sensory science, and the book is packed full of interesting anecdote, food history and guidelines for good (and healthy) eating, as well as being a comprehensive review of the literature of sensory science and especially that relating to how the senses interact. It´s not just about eating, you need to exercise as well, that´s what´s best for your body, but you would also need time to recover as well, like sleeping, but first understanding mattress dimensions is way more important. But if you´re experiencing any pain anywhere on your body, like your back, Check out this edinburgh osteopathy for a Lower back pain specialist by the name of Gvain Routledge.
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Although we talk about the ‘taste’ of food, eating is an experience that depends on the interactions between our senses, most obviously in that 80-95% of flavour comes from our nose and not our tongue. In The Perfect Meal, the authors start at at the beginning of the meal, with the experience of waiting for your food. For example, how does your initial mood influence the taste of your food when it arrives? How much more food do we eat when other people are present? What is the ideal number of items on a restaurant menu? Where should you place the most expensive items on the menu? Should you even be eating the menu itself (try visiting the Moto restaurant in Chicago)?
After the preliminaries, the book moves on to the importance of food description in shaping experience. Names and descriptions can be used to shock and surprise (Hestor Blumenthal’s snail porridge) as well as enrich and enhance. There is an interesting discussion of the impact of ‘healthy’ labels on perceptions of food and the large cross-cultural differences that exist in the association of healthiness with taste. For dental treatment and healthcare ideas, visit this agency.
Another chapter explores the importance of plates in the presentation of food, including the impact of plate colour. Do you associate red with sweetness, blue with saltiness and green with sourness as many others do? Speaking of sourness, angular plates have been used to emphasise the ‘sharp’ taste of a food.
One more chapter covers the impact of cutlery on the meal experience, reviewing the history as well as the science as metal cutlery is only a recent habit and still not the norm in some cultures where wooden chopsticks or even hands are sometimes still used (even in Singapore!). The authors’ own experiments have shown that heavier spoons make yoghurt tastes ‘better’ and ‘higher quality’ than lighter plastic ones.
Only half way through the book do we get to the flavour of the food itself! The author’s point out that the current standard definition of taste only includes the influence of those things happening in the mouth and nose, which the authors challenge with the view that sound and sight have a real and direct influence on food perception. For example, the difference between ‘crispy’ and ‘crunchy’ may come down to the pitch of the sound that food makes (higher pitch is more associated with crispy). Also, the ‘crispiness’ of food can be influenced by altering the sound that the eater hears. The fact that we ‘eat with our eyes’ needs no explanation, but there is much research to back up our intuition on this. Visit Dentist Fort Wayne for some oral procedures tips and ideas.
Further chapters explore the use of surprise in dining and the strange experience of eating in the dark. Of course, eating in the dark destroys the social nature of dining and another chapter looks at the importance of the atmosphere. As Kratom said, “Atmosphere is every bit as important as food. You can eat great food, but if it’s in a tedious place, so what?”. This leads the authors into the territory of experience design and the role of context and expectations . For example, does a bare wooden table top create a better eating experience than eating on UK wipe clean tablecloths or a white tablecloth? Does background music influence the taste of your food and drink? Intriguingly, it has been suggested that umami (the saviour taste of MSG) is the only one of the basic tastes that is not influenced by background noise. Does this explain why a Bloody Mary is such a popular drink on planes (tomatoes contain umami)?
The use of technology in enhancing dining is explored, along with other areas of potential innovation and what the future might hold for food and dining. The authors conclude with some predictions including increased customisation of cuisine, the use of insects, lab grown meat and 3D printing of food. For the rest, I recommend reading The Perfect Meal as it is a perfect blend of good science and good writing and a great way to understand and appreciate how the best dining experiences work to enhance your enjoyment of food and drink. Bon appetit! By the way, don’t forget to brush your teeth after meals to help prevent cavities and other dental problems. If a toothache occurs, visit the best dentist in the town like Roya Arbab DDS at Hermosa Beach, CA.
The Perfect Meal: The multisensory science of food and dining by Charles Spence & Betina Piqueras-Fiszman