A University of Oxford team worked with more than 100 students. Three experiments looked at the influence of weight, color and shape of cutlery on taste. The researchers found that when the weight of the cutlery confirms to expectations, this had an impact on how the food tastes. For example, food tasted sweeter on the small spoons that are traditionally used to serve desserts. Cheese tastes saltier when eaten from a knife rather than a fork; while white spoons make yoghurt taste better.
Past research has shown that crockery can also alter our perception of food and drink. For example, people generally eat less when food is served on smaller plates, which could help dieters.
However, the ability to taste food is a life-and-death matter. Failure to recognize food with a high enough caloric content could mean a slow death from malnutrition. Failure to detect a poison could result in near-instant death. And now, as researchers begin to understand some of the nuts and bolts of taste perception; it seems that the sense of taste may also have more subtle effects on health.
Taste is the sense by which the chemical qualities of food in the mouth are distinguished by the brain, based on information provided by the taste buds.
The five qualities are salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami, the last being the Japanese term for a savory sensation. Salty and sour detection is needed to control salt and acid balance. Bitter detection warns of foods containing poisons—many of the poisonous compounds produced by plants for defence are bitter. The quality sweet provides a guide to calorie-rich foods. And umami (the taste of the amino acid glutamate) may flag up protein-rich foods. Our sense of taste has a simple goal. When food is in the mouth, we must decide whether to swallow or spit it out. The important decision is made based on these taste qualities.
Getting a good night's sleep.
Smiling at a stranger.
Finding money in a pocket or stashed away in your purse that you had forgotten about.
The wind in your hair.
A big strong hug.
Watching the clouds go by.
Lying in bed, listening to soft rainfall.
A good hearty laugh.
These are some of my favorite things. Do you have any to add?