Taste and smell often overlap.
Although I usually associate taste with how the food feels in my mouth, where I sense flavors, textures, and temperature, 80 percent of overall taste comes from our sense of smell.
Heated food gives off more vapors than cold food.
Which explains why freshly-made bread hot from the oven smells better than day-old bread.
Garlic, coffee, and chocolate are perceived mostly by smell.
I can see why the aroma of a garlicky dish or a cup of coffee influences our tasting it, but chocolate surprised me because I don’t think of it as an aromatic food. When it’s heated, however, in the form of chocolate chip cookies with melty chips, or hot fudge drizzled on ice cream, or brownies that are still warm, the aroma permeates the whole house.
Memories attached to smell are most vivid and easiest to recall, especially if the association is negative.
Which explains why I gag at the idea of eating cold butter.
Plumper people have fewer taste receptors for sweets than thinner people.
This was a new one to me. Researchers in Buffalo concluded that “trouble detecting sweetness may lead obese mice to eat more than their leaner counterparts to get the same payoff.” If we apply the logic to humans, perhaps it could explain why people like me put more sugar in their coffee.
Habitual exposure to smells can cause desensitization.
I can attest to this fact. Once when we were visiting my in-laws, who lived near a paper mill that spewed foul odors, my father-in-law stepped out on the balcony, breathed deeply, and said, “Smell that wonderful fresh air!”
The universally most pleasant aroma is vanilla.
No wonder malls are sprinkled with bakeries, perfume shops, and candle stores. Just goes to show that the taste of vanilla doesn’t always overlap with the smell of vanilla.
Personally, I like vanilla only in food. How about you?
Posted on July 28, 2015