Foodosophy of Taste – Key Elements

The subjectivity of taste makes it an interesting topic to examine. In an earlier post, I brought up a statement I had once heard , throwing open the idea that what I taste cannot be proven to be the same as what another person does. What tastes like an apple to me is not guaranteed to taste the same for you.

I was confronted with an interesting question today – I was asked what my tastes were when it came to food. While i spit out a rote answer – “simple, flavourful, fresh, well-balanced food”, it lead me to thinking, what were really my tastes? Simple isnt really a taste – it’s a subjective opinion. Flavourful and fresh –  well, one is self-evident, and fresh is almost impossible to describe. At the root of it, I know i prefer salty over sweet, and sour over bitter, but what is it about each of these elements that is appealing, or not appealing to me? Is it a balance of tastes I prefer that make up my preferences? Or is there more to it than just what my tastebuds register?

As a child, my tastes were defined by what was cooked for me. Familiar food was good food. Somewhere along the way, it stopped being about what was familiar, and more about what I truly enjoyed. Sometimes. I remember “liking” some foods because it grossed other people out.  I remember liking some foods because i was supposed to like them. I remember liking some foods because my brother liked it, and gosh be damned that he would like something that I would not! So in being honest with myself, I know that a lot of my tastes come from a variety of influences – not just what is on my palette.

My theory? I think the reason food connects with people on such a deep level is because it is one part emotional, one part taste, one part chemisty, and one part familiarity. Emotional are the strong experiences, both positive and negative, that we associated with certain foods. Taste is the reaction of my tastebuds to what I am tasting. Chemistry has to do with the interaction of the food with your mouth chemistry (part saliva, part pH), and familiarity is how familiar the experience is to you, people being creatures of familiarity.

Watching Top Chef tonight, I heard an interesting statement.  Tom Colicchio called one contestant’s food “uni-taste”. Is this such a bad thing? Is it layers of taste that make up balance, interest, and complexity? Or can a single flavour, one pure taste, not be equally enjoyable? Is this just something personal to him, or something commonly found across most people?

I find this to be personally confusing, as I really have no idea on how to answer the question “what are your tastes”? I throw it out to you readers – what are the key elements that make up your taste? And how would you define them?


Fifth Furlong – Another Milestone Passed!

Today, we (not so) quietly celebrate the completion of our fifth full month of existence at Foodosophy.  We also welcomed the 25,000th visit through the turnstiles, according to the WordPress hit counter.  Doing that simple math, five thousand hits per month on average, I think we are mildly pleased with the results so far and hope that we continue to reach out to our readership with stories of interest on the eating scene from around the world. We also hope to continue to develop more of a community, with more dialogue progressing back and forth.

As we were uploading the new image header to mark our monthly anniversary this morning, we were struck by just how fast the collection of reviews and thoughts have accumulated on this site. We are grateful for everyone who has been interacting with us through their comments on many of our posts, and eagerly await all of the discussion that arises after we publish each review.  For the shy majority who we know are out there reading and lurking, we do hope that you find the courage to leave us your impressions on anything that we do, or any information you have to add, or share, as we are constantly looking for more feedback. It doesn’t hurt to know if our reviews have been helpful to you in your own dining/eating experiences either!

Also, please do drop by the Ask Foodosophy section and leave us any notes about any places you’d like us to review, visit, etc. as we cannot possibly know about all of the new developments out there in your areas.  We will do our best to get a writer into the area for an in-depth piece of coverage.

As we continue on our journey to bring you more and more articles on restaurants, food options, and general thoughts on many things food-related, we would like to give you some insights into what we hope to develop in the coming months.  First of all, more contributing writers.  We are in touch with some individuals who have expressed interest in sharing their own ‘foodosophy’ with us, from various parts of the world.  We hope this will bring a larger collection of stories outside of the main domains we have covered so far. I don’t know about you guys and gals, but I know everyone at Foodosophy loves hearing about different food experiences from all over the globe. To us, this is very much the “Anthony Bourdain” appeal.

Of course, adding new writers will assist us when some of us are off traveling as we tend to do. It hasn’t been easy keeping a hectic travel, and a daily writing schedule. More writers will hopefully help.

In addition, other ideas we are throwing around – we’ve discussed covering a single geographic location, capturing both the highs and lows of a region by covering several eating experiences under one umbrella post. We feel this might give a better overall idea of what a smaller town or area is like.  We are also exploring the possibilities of doing some one-day photo essays related to our eating experiences when we are on the road, that may involve less text and more images to convey what our senses were exposed to on our travels.

In closing, please let us reiterate how happy we are to be the caretakers of this site, exchanging and sharing knowledge with all of our readers.  When it comes to food and dining on a global scale, nothing makes us happier.  Thank you all so much!

The Foodosophy Team