October 8, 2014 by Beth Hess
Perhaps one of the biggest wastes in regards to the volumes of food I sometimes consume is that I don’t taste most of it.
This thought occurred to me today with the first bite of a really lovely meatball. Firm but moist. Soft enough to nearly melt in my mouth. Seasonings subtle but savory. Sauce rich and not too sweet. If I hadn’t been in a national chain sandwich shop, I might have expected a petite Italian woman hand-rolling them to order and ladling secret-recipe sauce that had been simmering all day. A second bite with cheese added creaminess and slight saltiness to the taste party.
My new rule is this: If I can’t describe it in a Food Network worthy manner, I probably didn’t taste it. And if I’m not going to taste it, there’s no point putting it in my body.
Taking a cue from wine and food aficionados, I am hoping to practice these ways to become a better taster.
* Consider the conditions. A noisy place. Unusual smells. Multi-tasking (like driving or being at my desk.) All of these can keep me from tasting fully. I must do my best to eliminate them.
* Eat first with my eyes. How does the food look? What makes it appealing? I’m struck by how often I don’t even SEE what I’m eating — only the wrapper.
* Smell it. Literally put it up to my nose and take a big whiff. It can not only affect the taste, but it also builds anticipation. (And smells are calorie-free!)
* Start small. Instead of opening my mouth as wide as possible and shoving it in, take a petite bite and savor. It’s nearly impossible to notice any nuances when my cheeks are stuffed to capacity.
* Repeat only until satisfied. One of the benefits of tasting this way is that it’s a slooooow process. And it’s easier to notice when my stomach is getting satisfied because it stops tasting as good as it did. The body actually has pretty good built-in cues. When I don’t steamroll over them.
I guess, then, the process looks a little something like this: Pause. Look. Sniff. Bite. Repeat only as needed.
Which is admittedly different from my typical pattern of Grab. Stuff. Repeat until gone. Go buy more.
So here’s to less wasting and more tasting.
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