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Senses Involved in Flavor

by Ron Kurtus (29 August 2005)

When you eat some of your favorite food, you might say that it tastes good. But what you really mean is that it has a good flavor.

What you sense in eating food is a combination of the taste that your tongue senses, the smell of the food that your nose senses, and the texture of the food, felt by the tongue and other parts of the mouth.

These three senses of taste, smell and touch make of the sensation of flavor.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.



Taste

The tongue can recognize salty, bitter, sweet and sour tastes. These simple tastes alone do not really identify the flavor of the food. Smell and touch must be included.

Smell

When you eat, aromas from the food will waft up into your nasal passages, especially after breaking up the food during chewing. The smell of the aromas, combined with the taste help to determine the flavor of the food.

Touch

There are really two senses involved in touch. One is the sense of pressure and the other is the sense of temperature.

Pressure

While you are chewing the hardness and consistency of the food is sensed in your mouth. Some foods just seem pleasurable to chew and manipulate in your mouth. Material with the same taste and smell may not bring about a good flavor if it doesn't feel right in your mouth. A rubbery steak may have a good taste, but its consistency will ruin its flavor.

Temperature

The temperature of the food it another factor in flavor. Some food simply have a better flavor when warm or hot. But also, the heat helps to give off aromas that can add to the flavor. Of course, food that is so hot in temperature that it burns the roof of your mouth is not pleasant to eat.

Summary

Although you may say food tastes good, what you really mean is that it has a good flavor. What you sense in eating food is a combination of the taste that your tongue senses, the smell of the food that your nose senses, and the texture of the food, felt by the tongue and other parts of the mouth. These three senses of taste, smell and touch make of the sensation of flavor.


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Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials

Web sites

Senses Resources

Books

Top-rated books on Sense of Taste


Questions and comments

Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


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Senses Involved in Flavor




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Smell

Taste

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