We were waiting for our food to be served in a restaurant when I noticed a toddler refusing to eat her food in our neighbouring table. Her parents addressed the issue immediately by handing over a mobile phone to her. The rest of the meal was taken care with the child happily watching the videos.
This is the scenario in many households today. Dora, the explorer and Doremon are the companions of our children on the dining tables. This habit formed at a young age continues through teenage and later, in our busy lives, we tend to multitask while we have our food. Various studies show that we need to be mindful while eating our food. Why is this so? What are we doing to our children?
An entire field of study called Neurogastronomy exists which is about understanding how the senses work together to make the foods that we eat beneficial to our body.
Sight - Our first experience with food is what we see on the plate. Sight even changes the way the food tastes when we eat it.
Touch – Texture can change the way the food tastes. While soft textures bring out sweeter, creamier notes, rough textures make a dish saltier and crunchier.
Sound – We not only eat with our tongues, but we also eat with our ears. It is very important to listen to the chewing sound of the food we eat.
Smell – Smell is the sense that is closely tied to taste as we smell the food while we are chewing it. We may not want to eat the food that does not smell good.
Food that appeals to all our senses is better assimilated by our bodies. No-watching-while-eating also leads to family meal times which strengthen the bond between parents and their children. Hence, it’s time for us to reconnect with our senses, with our food and ultimately, with each other.
The next time you sit down to have dinner, try to think about how all your five senses are involved. The more sensory reactions you can name, the better the food will taste, guaranteed.
- Anitha Shankar
MLZS, HSR Branch