Whether you’re indulging in an exciting, new restaurant, grabbing take out from your favorite neighborhood joint, or creating delicious originals in the comfort of your own kitchen, nourishing your ♥️ love language can be an adventurous and exhilarating experience. Just like the renowned five love languages that are used to express love with one another — words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch – there exists a unique love language that romances our taste buds. Each one of us has a primary flavor love language. When we express this language to ourselves or others, we can experience a deep sense of being loved.
As we savor the flavors of food or sip on a delicate wine or any other beverage, we rely on our singular sense of taste. The taste receptor cells in our taste buds allow us to experience five basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami, which describes a savory or meaty flavor. However, our brains perceive taste as a harmonious fusion of our senses. It’s not just about taste alone; our sense of sight, smell, and touch or texture also contribute to the overall perception of flavor. The interwoven combination of these senses create what we recognize as flavor.
Discover your FLAVOR Love Language
Think about your favorite tastes. For example, sweet foods include juicy, red strawberries, ripe figs, gooey chocolate chip cookies, or desserts like cake and pastries. Secondly, salty foods can include oysters, nuts, olives, French fries, or savory snacks like potato chips or pretzels. Even further, sour taste preferences can be found in foods like pickles, fermented foods, tart cherries, or citrus fruits like lemons and limes. Additionally, the taste umami, can be experienced in foods like sushi, slow cooked ribs with barbecue sauce, or dishes that contain ingredients like mushrooms, soy sauce, or Parmesan cheese. Lastly, bitter tastes can be found in foods like dark chocolate or vegetables like endive, broccoli, or roasted Brussel sprouts.
Aromas have a powerful impact on our emotions that can evoke comforting and nostalgic feelings. The smells of certain dishes or ingredients can restore cherished memories of childhood and remind us of loved ones. Some people may find the smell of freshly baked bread or cookies to be nostalgic and comforting, while others may be drawn to the aroma of spices like cinnamon or cloves, which are often associated with holiday memories. The scent of a simmering pot of soup or stew can also create a cozy and comforting atmosphere. Personally, I love the smell of oregano, as it reminds me of my Nonna’s delicious Italian cooking.
Colors can also influence our perception and appeal of food. Red is often associated with energy, passion, and appetite. Foods like ripe tomatoes, red peppers or strawberries can appear vibrant and enticing. Orange is associated with warmth and enthusiasm. Foods such as oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes, or even the spice turmeric, can have an inviting and appetizing appearance. In addition, green, like leafy lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, or green apples can look refreshing and appealing. Even white, which is associated with purity and simplicity, can have a clean and calming appearance, like oysters, popcorn, cauliflower, or yogurt. In similar fashion, the aesthetics of the table can arouse the sight sense. Research has shown that the presentation of food can affect our taste perception and overall dining experience. Sight plays a big part in how we decide if we like a certain food or beverage.
Texture is a crucial aspect of our sensory experience when it comes to food. For instance, the sensation of hot and spicy, like curry or salsas can add a layer of intensity and excitement on the tongue. To contrast, combining hot and cold textures with opposite temperaments, such as a hot, gooey chocolate brownie, with a scoop of cold vanilla bean ice cream and crunchy nuts on top, can provide a delightful journey of temperatures and textures. Foods with a slippery or smooth texture, like oysters or certain types of seafood, can create a unique sensation in the mouth. Soft textures, like custard, tiramisu or mashed potatoes can evoke a sense of comfort, offering a soothing and satisfying experience. And last but not least, foods with a chewy texture, like chocolate chip cookies or certain types of candies, can provide a satisfying resistance and elasticity. The act of chewing releases flavors, creating a sense of indulgence.
LOVING IT ALL TOGETHER
Understanding the preferred tastes, sights, smells, and textures of yourself or your loved ones can be a powerful way to create a meal that truly speaks to the heart, and makes one feel loved. For example, if you or someone you know enjoys the taste of sweet and the smell of fresh herbs, you could create a dish that incorporates a sweet element, such as a honey-glazed protein, and top it off with a fragrant herb garnish. Additionally, you can consider the texture preferences. If you or someone you know likes crispy textures, you could pair the sweet and savory dish with a crunchy side or topping.
Ultimately, the best ingredient to any meal is always love. As my friend Krista♥️ beautifully expresses, “When love is present, we can experience a heightened awareness of our senses. We all have a desire to feel loved. Love brings vulnerability, honesty, transparency, and safety to the table. Love at the table, combined with flavor enhances everyday life, arousing our senses as a flavor love language.”
To sum it up, by combining these elements thoughtfully, you can create a meal that not only satisfies your taste buds but also delights your senses, creating a deeper connection with the ones you love and a feeling of appreciation through food. Let’s eat and drink to that, cheers my friends!
P.S. Read How to Taste Wine: The Heart of Wine Tasting next.