Friday, July 10, 2009

The Nature of Taste

This week my apricots come into full ripeness--soft, juicy, creamy smooth goodness, a real treat in my mouth. I popped the first one into my mouth and my eyes rolled back and closed in pleasure. The full sweetness and soft goodness sent my whole body into a trance.

That first bite was delightful. I picked a basket full and made some apricot syrup for the winter all the while popping one or two beauties into my mouth. I could not let all of them go into the jars. The first taste of the cooled syrup was another moment of bliss. I was in culinary heaven.

The plums were also ripe, so I made Ginger Plum Sauce and again my taste buds reeled at the first taste of the cooled suace--spicy, dark plum hit the sides of my mouth like a jolt and suprised me. What a treat on chicken wings or in BarBQ sauce, I thought to myself as I put the jars on the shelf.

Then something started to happen as I continued to eat the apricots. They seemed less flavorful , almost watery. I realized that the taste buds had been awakened to the new flavor as a test to see if it was OK to eat. As I ate more my mouth did not need this test, so it quieted down its reaction to the flavor. If I thought hard as I was eating one the flavor came through, but I no longer needed to know if it was Ok to eat. My mouth just ate it for the food value because it knew it was safe.

This is why you do not eat special foods regularly. Keeping them for special occasions renews the initial reaction to the flavor and gives you much more pleasure than to eat these foods often and get used to the flavor and then just munch it.

Salt is not like that and neither is sugar so every time you "taste" it. But the more delicate unusual the flavor the more you need to have just a little of it once in a while to recieve the same pleasure.

Isn't that like life? The more you do something the more boring it gets. Maybe the mouth is a lesson. If you are hungry then by all means munch. But, if you want to experience something fully like the first time, do it just a little onece in a while and the full experience will be yours for the taking.

1 comment:

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Oh yes. The french even have a name for this sensation.... although I forget what it is called. That is why most of their dishes are tiny portions, but like 8 of them at a meal. A wonderful idea if you ask me. Could you imagine getting that sensation 5 or 6 times in one meal? How differently would people look at food if that is what we strove for and not for stuffing ourselves as fast as possible?

Love Val

PS I will help with shipping if you send me some apricot syrup. That sounds HEAVENLY!