- from 5 Senses
What is your favorite food? Is it cold, smooth, creamy chocolate ice cream that melts in your mouth and trickles down your throat? Or is it a crunchy, salty, sour dill pickle that puckers your lips? Perhaps you crave crisp potato chips or the sweet tartness of a crunchy green apple.
Even so-called fussy eaters generally want a variety of tastes. No one would voluntarily consume the same five foods over and over again forever, but actually, there are only five basic tastes. They are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (savory). The differences we experience among foods are, for the most part, differences in how they smell. In fact, some scientists say that 80 percent of taste is really smell. You may realize this when you have a cold, because it makes the mucus membranes in your nose swell up, which reduces your ability to smell. This in turn reduces your ability to taste your food.
But smell is not the only sensation that contributes to the experience that we call tasting. Through the sense of touch, we are aware of the texture of food and its temperature. We also experience the sound food makes as we chew it. Even our sense of sight is involved in appreciating food. Food of different colors that is arranged attractively on a plate appeals to appetites much more than a colorless glob of mush. So in a way, all five of your senses help you enjoy the flavor of the food your body needs.