Shaping Taste: Instinctual Intelligence


I love to eat and cook. When I was young I loved reading cook books. Once I began studying chemistry I realized that cooking was actually chemistry in action. And I have always been obsessed by our senses and all the doorways they can open into pleasure, our mind, consciousness, and imagination. Today’s blog will focus on the sense of taste.

Our Five Physical Senses
Our senses communicate information through different energetic channels that obviously evolved to support our survival. The smell of something burning in the kitchen gets us there quickly to deal with the potential danger. The sound from down the block from an oncoming ambulance tells us to move our car out of the way and the taste of something bitter tells us to proceed with caution.

Taste and smell are the close chemical senses meaning that the molecules of taste or smell must actually touch our tongue or nose to communicate information. Touch, another close sense, requires direct physical mechanical connection to our skin. Our distant senses – sight and hearing – depend on electromagnetic vibrations of light and sound to communicate information.

Our Five Chemical Tastes
Our tongues can only detect specific molecules that offer up the five tastes of sweet, sour, salty, savory, and bitter. We taste only these five sensations though some scientists are saying that we have a 6th taste for fat. What we usually call ‘taste’ is flavor, which combines taste with smell, more on that later.

When we enjoy a steaming bowl of chicken soup or a fresh ripe peach, we are taking in the flavors that include what we smell as well as the chemicals of taste. Though we can only detect 5 kinds of chemical tastes, our mouth and nose can detect thousands of smells. Hence, the myriad —> Read More