Last time I wrote about Eye Hunger. Today, I’m going to be discussing Nose Hunger, adding one more petal to our “Types of Hunger” Flower.
Don’t deny it! If you smell someone barbecuing or you pass a bakery and a waft of cooking cookie dough comes your way, all of a sudden you feel hungry. You could have just finished eating a big meal and you’re still going to feel that tug of following the smell. If I’ve cooked a very nice meal, say braised beef, it doesn’t matter how good it tastes, the smell of something barbecuing will always make me feel like what I’m having is second best.
Talk about our primitive instincts at work. Our ancestors really had to trust their olfactory nerves (those in the nose) to locate food, but also to protect them from that which was harmful because it was spoiled. Even with that, humans aren’t the best at the smelling job even though we can smell up to ten thousand different scents. That pales in comparison to the bear’s sense of smell. Even though its brain is a third the size of ours, the part devoted to the job is five times larger than ours. Their noses are bigger and the inside of their nostrils have folds that give even more surface for sniffing.
To truly enjoy your food, you’d better not have a cold. That’s because taste is really made up not only of the information that is received by your taste buds in your mouth (tongue and cheeks), but also the odors or smells picked up by nose. One curious fact is that flavor, while coming from the combination of taste and smell, doesn’t happen on the inhalation phase as you would think. You’re actually sensing flavor in the exhalation phase.
Interestingly, while our tastes are limited to sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory (also referred to as umami), our nose has no limitations. With that thought, think about how a food’s flavor can be altered just by altering the smell. I suppose that’s why there are so many flavorings created by flavorists. But also think about what you’re missing when you don’t eat slowly enough for your nose to pick up the scents to recognize flavors and send the information to your brain. Because, you see, much of what you’re eating is based on the collating in the brain of the information sent to it from the taste buds and the nose.
Satisfying Nose Hunger
Just as when you eat something that doesn’t really satisfy your taste buds, when you can’t smell your food, you’re missing out on the pleasure aspect of the food. If you’re not enjoying what you’re eat, what’s the point? You can get your nutrition in good tasting food just as well as you can with that which you find offensive (e.g., limburger cheese). But give yourself the opportunity to really experience your food by eating more slowly to make those calories count.
At dinner tonight (and preferably on your own rather than with company), place your dinner in front of you. Bring the plate up to your nose and inhale deeply. As you do, try to detect as many components of the smells as you can. Does it smell sweet? Acidic? Spicy? Can you actually smell the different ingredients?
Now, put the plate back down on the table and take a bite. As you chew, is the scent stronger as you inhale or exhale? Can you taste the different components in the dish?
When you’re done eating, sit a moment and think about what smells you experienced. Can you still taste the food in your mouth? In your mind? Has your nose become satiated so that you really don’t want to eat any more? You see, your nose is very much involved in how much you eat. It’s very possible that you tend to eat far more than your nose hunger demands.
Visit www.spinarecipe.com to play the slot machine for recipes and spin the wheels for ingredients. It’s like a Vegas experience in your kitchen!