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Taste makes eating a pleasurable experience

By BARB LUMLEY Columnist Published: April 29, 2017 5:00 AM

As I sit here this morning, I am drinking a cup of coffee that smells and tastes really good and eating a banana that doesn't taste good because it is a little too green. I am eating it anyway because it is a healthy food and good for me. My treat is a coconut cookie that doesn't taste half-bad but isn't as good as one of my mom's homemade cookies. As I do this, I am reading some information I took off the computer about a book, "The Dorito Effect." It examines the essential role that flavor plays in the way we eat today. While I have not read the book, I am sure I would find it very interesting.

People want to eat delicious food. The foods we eat are usually chosen according to what we like and don't like, and that is determined by taste and smell. There are some things we choose to eat because we know they are good for our health or we are on a special diet, but we don't really enjoy eating them. We are so fortunate to have such a variety of foods available to choose from and enjoy. Our supermarkets offer just about every food we can think of, but of course, not everyone likes the same things.

I never buy those perfect red tomatoes in the grocery store as they never have a good tomato taste. I will anxiously be awaiting that first ripe tomato from the garden. Only a month or so until home-grown strawberries will be available. They will smell, taste and feel like real strawberries! So much of the produce in the supermarkets doesn't have the taste of home-grown. Much of our meat lacks the flavor that used to be in it due to the way animals are fed these days. Chickens used to run free, peck in the dirt and grass, eat bugs, etc. When you cooked a chicken you had tasty yellow broth. Nowadays the broth has no color or flavor and if you close your eyes while eating the meat you can hardly tell it is chicken.

The smell and taste of food is important and helps determine what we buy at the supermarket. If the food doesn't have natural flavor, it is usually added by means of manufactured substances, spices and flavorings. Everything we grow is bigger and cheaper but blander than ever. Modern food production has made much of what we eat flavorless, and a multibillion-dollar flavor industry has stepped in to fool our senses.

There are five basic tastes -- sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory. The ability to taste and smell our food is vitally important for our health and well-being. Those sensations prepare our bodies for digesting food. A friend of mine lost the ability to taste or smell food due to an accident. She has no desire for food and has lost weight.

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Eating is a chore for her as she cannot enjoy it. Cooking for her family is made difficult because she can't smell or taste the food she is preparing.

We don't stop to think how important these two sensations are to us. Being able to smell and taste the food we are eating should be a pleasurable experience.

Having delicious food to eat enhances the joy and can make the difference between what is healthy for us and what isn't. Spring is here and gardens are being planted. Produce farms are putting thousands of plants into the ground.

The farmer's markets and road side stands will soon be opening. One can certainly understand the popularity of those markets. The homegrown produce sold there is so fresh and has such flavor! Home grown or homemade usually means good food! Eating healthy can be a pleasure when the food tastes good.


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