How does that taste?
A good place to start would be to define what taste actually is and how it differs from flavor? According the MW Dictionary, taste (noun) is the sweet, sour, bitter, or salty quality of a thing that you can sense when it is in your mouth: the flavor that you can taste when you eat or drink something. It is also the ability to notice or recognize flavors when you eat or drink. Basically, taste helps you decide if you like something or not. Believe it or not, your sense of taste develops even before you are born. We innately prefer sweet and salty and reject bitter and sour, but those tendencies can be changed depending on both prenatal and postnatal experiences. Flavor, on the other hand, is defined as the quality of something that affects the sense of taste. It is detected by the sense of smell (taste is actually 65-75% smell) and highly influenced by a mother’s diet while pregnant and breastfeeding. This explains why my favorite ice cream flavor is Cherry Vanilla since my mom ate it by the gallon during her pregnancy and while she was breastfeeding. Taste and flavor development are two of the reasons we stress healthy eating habits for pregnant women and exposing children to nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, as soon as possible.
But our tastes and tendencies toward certain flavors are not set in stone. They can and will change depending on our age, environment and lifestyle. Things like smoking, overeating, consuming large amounts sugar and processed foods and both prescription and OTC drugs greatly decrease our sense of taste. But, the use of herbs and spices can greatly enhance this sense. And texture and sight also influence our perceived taste. I have always believed that people eat with their eyes. If something looks good, 90% of the time, people will say it taste good even if it contains a food that they claim to hate.
Many people think that something that's good for you can't taste good. I strongly disagree with that. Healthy and tasty can coexist within the same food. Here's where flavor comes into place. You can add flavor to something. Flavor has such a huge impact on our sense of taste that making food more flavorful makes food more enjoyable. Yes, even food that is considered "good for you." When we eat bland foods, we tend to be less satisfied causing us to overeat. More flavorful foods encourage us to slow down and savor every bite. So instead of asking someone else how something tastes, why not try it yourself?
*Disclaimer-Some of the information included in this blog post was previously used in a blog post I wrote for OurLife Health and Fitness.