While your fork and spoon may disagree, you eat with more than just your mouth. Eating is a multi-sensory experience, engaging the eyes, the nose, the ears and even our hands (don’t tell your kids that though!).
Indulge all five senses and provide your guests with a neurogastronomic extravaganza.
The aroma of all-day cooking as guests arrive is sure to create a buzz. Ever come home to lamb that’s been slow cooking all day? As soon as the front door is open, your nose triggers your taste buds and tells them to get ready for a feast.
And when it’s time to dine, remember, you eat with your eyes first. Think about when you see someone else’s food come out in a restaurant and food envy kicks in. Or the moment your food is first placed in front of you. Even the damn impulse chocolate at the supermarket! One of the brain’s key roles is to facilitate foraging and feeding, so it makes sense that when we see something we love the look of, we can’t wait to eat it.
Ultimately this means all the other elements of food presentation matter, because your eyes will create preconceived ideas about the adventure your taste buds are about to have.
Sound matters too. The right amount of crunch can have a positive impact on the perceived taste of your food. According to Oxford University Professor of Experimental Psychology, Charles Spence, noise impacts our perception of taste. A crunchier chip can taste better than a less crunchy chip, even though they have been cooked and served together and technically have the same taste.
High decibels can affect our ability to taste sweetness. By contrast, loud noise enhances our ability to taste umami. So crank up the tunes during main course, and dial it down to dolce for dessert.
Loud music is also said to make your taste perception decrease. So if you have an epic failure with how something is meant to taste, let music be your dinner party BFF and help disguise blandness.