‘T’ is for Taste – Happy Hints for Savouring your Holiday Foods

Taste – Holiday Foods

Culinary delights from across the world excite our palate on a daily basis whether at home or abroad. And when in far flung destinations exotic herbs and spices fill the air and our nostrils. Foods, flavours and styles of preparation are synonymous with regions across the globe making local food part of a cultural travelling experience.

Herbs and Spices

 

But how does one capture and recall the sens{e}ational experiences of taste encountered on holidays and travels?

All our senses are permanently on alert soaking up the scene not only visually, but absorbing what we hear, smell, touch and…  taste

Yet, have you ever considered the fact that taste isn’t always just about food? Experiencing taste isn’t always about putting a flavoured substance into one’s mouth? Without realising it, our taste buds soak up our surrounding environment.
You can literally taste the scene:

  • taste the climate – the humidity of the tropics, the dryness of the desert.
  • taste what’s in the atmosphere – the acrid taste of smoke around a camp fire, the fumes from vehicles in the centre of the city.
  • taste the vegetation – the lushness of the rainforest, the prickly-ness of spiky arid plants.
  • taste your emotions – such as the dryness in one’s mouth before doing a bungee jump.
  • taste physical changes – such as the watery-ness that precedes seasickness!

Recording these ‘flavours’ offers potentially more of an insight into what you’re really feeling and experiencing than anything else on your travels!

Sense of Taste

The ‘How’of Taste:

Our sense of taste (when it comes to food) is remarkable in that the tasting experience is totally intertwined with all of our other senses. Taste is the only sense that draws on all the other four senses to make it complete ~ Its not only your taste buds that allow you to taste something!

  • Taste of foodIngredients
    Taste – is the flavour that comes together from a group of ingredients that are combined in a methodical manner and then chemically altered by heat, or cured by smoke, salt or an acid such as lemon juice (denaturation). To better describe foods it may help to understand that there are 5 basic tastes one can differentiate:

    Sweet… Bitter… Sour… Salty… and Umami
    Umami is a distinctive savoury (not meaty) taste present in a lot of Asian dishes
  • Sight of food – The colour of food, its presentation, the appearance of ingredients is what one takes in visually.
    You only have to walk through a market and the presentation of stall holders entices you into wanting to sample their wares –
    Chefs, I suspect, spend as much time ensuring your plate looks appetising as preparing the dish on the stove.

    Oscars Table Melbourne

    Photo: Oscar’s Table, Melbourne


    A slightly different gastronomic delight to baked beans slopped on a plate with sauce dribbling over the edge ;)

  • Smell of food – I sometimes think I taste more through my nose than the food that actually hits my tongue.
    Walk past a bakery and breath in the smell of hot freshly baked crusty bread wafting out of their door… and then imagine melted butter dripping off this aromatic delight.
  • Sound of food – The crisp crunch of an apple, the slurp of juice sucking on an orange.
    The sound as we chomp into food within the confines of our skull is quite remarkable – don’t you think? Crispy biscuits, crunchy toast, soft succulent mangoes. The sound is so much a part of the experience.taste
  • Texture of food – From smooth and creamy to seedy and Moorish
    Chefs understand the importance of texture. I’ve seen cauliflower prepared and presented in five different ways all on the same plate (white creamy purée, browned and roasted, crunchy raw slivers, crispy tempura florets and fried cauliflower crumbs) giving what is in essence the same flavour, but offering five totally different experiences.
    Then there’s the sensation of is it hot , cold or delightfully warmed?

Locale ~ The Place

The ‘Where’ & ‘What’ of Taste

My mother used to say “Food always tastes soooo much better outside!” And most probably it does – Invigorated by being in a different locale I’m sure her senses were on fire and the overall experience was far more magical  than a meal taken in the everyday environment of the kitchen.

  • restaurant – a special fine dining experience over twinkling candlelight, in muted tones
  • bistros – hearty, honest food to warm the cockles of your heart
  • pub – a pub meal to go with a buzzing game of darts, laughs and a beer
  • cafes – coffee and cake on a sidewalk watching passers-by rush about their business
  • market stall – freshly harvested and made produce amongst the bustling hubbub of buying and selling
  • street stall- local produce made by the people – a regional delight
    paella
  • picnic – food, inhaled with the intoxicating fresh air of the great outdoors
The where you eat and what the atmospheric ambience of your surroundings is, all goes to impact the taste experience.

Company

The ‘Who’ of Taste:

The company you keep while you’re eating is also part of the repast memory.

Savouring flavours in good company not only aids digestion from the laughter that needless to say abounds, but good food and great company restores the soul.

taste

  • established friends
  • family
  • a work colleague or business acquaintance
  • a fizzing new relationship
  • a chance encounter
  • a fellow traveller
  • another chef

 

The Time

The ‘When’of Taste:

When are you eating?

  • taking a leisurely late breakfast
  • grabbing a snack on the way back to the officeTaste

 

  • enjoying a midnight feast after a night out on the town
  • starving after a 10 mile hike
  • not really that hungry.

 

Taste is memorable on multiple levels -
So next time you come to write in your diary or journal about a meal that’s just been enjoyed remember to consider not only the obvious of what it ‘tasted’ like, but remember all the details… the how, where, what, when and who, plus how it tasted in terms of its visuals, how it smelt, what it sounded like, and the textural delight in your mouth i.e. the whole taste experience through all of your senses…

Taste


Recounting what you’ve enjoyed eating requires a plethora of descriptive words, a few close up photos, so like Pavlov’s dog it has us salivating when we hear the tale!

taste

 

How do you remember the wondrous culinary delights you’ve experienced across the globe…
or for that matter, even just around the corner in your home area? 

 

 Do join the discussion and share your ways in the comments below :)

 

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2 thoughts on “‘T’ is for Taste – Happy Hints for Savouring your Holiday Foods

  1. Good point! The how, where, what, when and who, basically the whole taste experience as you said, through all of the senses is so very important!

    • When one thinks of taste I don’t think it comes to mind that we’re also smelling, looking, listening and feeling the food!
      So describing or portraying all these senses is necessary to record the experience ~
      Not to mention your company and the surrounding ambience :)

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