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Use Music to Make Enhance the Flavor of Your Favorite Foods

A common confusion exists in the English language, surrounding the words taste and flavor. Many use them interchangeably, but they have a notable difference. Taste refers to the 5 basic receptors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (savory, delicious). Flavor is a combination of taste and other aspects, such as smell, appearance, texture, color, juiciness, and now, apparently, music.

Researchers at the University of Oxford may have found a link between the music we’re listening to and how we experience the flavor of what we’re eating. “Multi-sensory food perception,” as Charles Spence has dubbed it, includes using high-pitched music to improve the flavor of sweet or sour foods, while low-pitched music works best with bitter flavors.

Spence talked to NPR to discuss the findings.

Texture is one of the more overt ways sound plays into taste, Spence says. Think of the crackling of chips or the fizzy sounds of a carbonated drink ? sound plays a major role in our experience of those textures.

But the other place where sound affects taste, Spence says, is in the environment; imagine listening to the sounds of the sea while you’re eating fish at a seaside restaurant.

Spence’s team is currently working on what he calls “synesthetic sounds.” By asking tasters to match flavors with sounds, they discovered the connection between high-pitched sounds and sweets and low-pitched sounds and bitter tastes.

Music seems to have an effect on more and more aspects of life; it improves exercise, it helps with alzheimer’s disease, can improve memory and emotional intelligence, now it can improve food. The idea is in the early stages, but maybe, in the future, all those foods that we know we should eat, but just can’t stand, can be improved with a little good music.

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About Sam Brinson Sam is a writer living in Uruguay. Sam follows the latest in aging break throughs.

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