I have often heard this quote by Benjamin Franklin, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” It’s a great quote for skeptics looking for proof, and for frat boys chugging crappy beer. I love the quote, but I want to change it. I think a more accurate phrase would be, “Taste buds are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
Now, I am no scientist or biologist, but I believe we are the only species capable of enjoying food. Every other critter on our planet eats for survival. You don’t see lions adding herbs to the zebra they just killed. You don’t see spiders preparing a fly with a little salt. Need another example, cows upchuck into their mouths and then re-eat what was partially digested!
But we humans not only eat for survival, we eat because we like too. But, there is a problem. We have forgotten how to use our taste buds. For years, we have conditioned one of the most sensitive cells to become complacent.
I have been guilty of this.
For example, my taste buds have been taught that apple flavoring is what an apple tastes like. So as a kid, I would turn my nose up at a real apple because it did not taste good.
With the start of a new year, and all the resolutions we make about getting into shape, I suggest that we take time to get our taste buds back into shape. No, I am not talking about doing push ups with your tongue.
One simple way to do wake up your taste buds is to slow down and concentrate on what you taste. As you strive to eat healthier to loose those extra pounds, stop and enjoy that apple. Chew it slow and let it sit on your tongue. Try this, and you will notice just how good an apple tastes.
Another way is to incorporate your nose. Your sense of smell is tied into your taste buds. Think about it. That’s why you can’t taste anything when yo have a cold or when you hold your nose. Take time to smell the food before you take a bite. Then, when you take your first bite, take a moment to find the subtle flavors.
It will take some time to get your taste buds into shape, so don’t get discouraged. It took me a while to start noticing the different subtle flavors in wine and coffee. But now that I can, drinking coffee or wine has become an incredible experience.
When you sit down for dinner tonight, make tasting a family affair. Get your kids involved and have everyone discuss what they are tasting. Not only is this a great way to have some family bonding, but it will make eating more enjoyable than you have ever imagined.