The way we experience the food we eat changes depending on how it affects each one of our senses. This is how the smell of food impacts taste.
We need food for sustenance, but we enjoy all the beautiful and creative flavors it has to offer. Yet, how exactly do we process this sensory information? Here is how the smell of food impacts taste.
The Sensory Connection
Our senses all impact the way we experience the world. When we eat food, we engage these senses in order to learn about and appreciate the food we eat. Taste is the primary experience we dial in to, but smell also impacts our food intake. Our brains are the key to these incredibly linked senses. The way smell and taste make their way through these electrochemical interactions in our bodies is incredible. And, at some point, they cross paths. This physical closeness in neuronal action leads to a connection in our lived experience.
How We Experience Food
Food begins with chefs and cooks who form a masterful palate of flavor. When we receive food, we notice the plating, the aroma, and the taste as we see, smell, and taste. The combination of our sensory overload enriches our experience of food beyond simple calorie intake. Smell and taste are so closely linked that many people experience a dullness in their food if they simply pinch their nose. Go ahead and try it next time you take a bite and see this surprising decrease in flavor vibrancy for yourself.
Why This Matters
It is one thing to appreciate the interesting fact that smell impacts taste; it is quite another to understand how important this connection truly is. When chefs create a dish, they factor in the aromatic spices along with the foundational flavors. On the other side of the industry, manufacturers crafting the perfect recipe for their delicious foodstuffs utilize olfactometry in food flavor analysis. These scientific processes allow professionals to determine the best way to prepare, cook, and serve their products, all based on smell influences.
It is truly a marvel how the smell of food impacts taste. The next time you eat something, focus on the various sensory experiences apart from the taste on your tongue. This will dramatically alter how you eat and enjoy your meals, especially when trying something new while traveling around the world.