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There’s a growing interest in food and flavor over the past decade. All of a sudden everyone is a “foodie.” Chefs love this trend because it has opened up the door to more experimental foods, and the mainstream diners are more open to trying new flavors and learn about new foods. But, with all this experimenting with different flavors, how much do you know about your taste buds?

Taste buds are everywhere

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There are five tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and umami.

Taste buds are more than just the little bumps on your tongue. In fact, those little bumps are just housings for taste buds. But, taste buds are everywhere all the way from the roof of your mouth, down your throat, even inside your stomach. The amount of taste buds we have will vary from person to person, but the number can range from a few thousand to more than ten thousand taste buds.

Difference between taste and flavor

Many people mix up taste and flavor or use them interchangeably when they are in fact not the same thing. 

Taste is what our taste buds taste. It can be sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or umami. When food hits your taste buds, they send a direct message to your brain telling you what you are tasting.

Flavor is a combination of smell, taste, texture, and expectation. We often have an expectation of certain foods that will affect the way we interpret the flavor. Using all of your sense to experience food is the reason you can smell a dish and feel like you taste it simultaneously. However, your brain is smart enough to know that you are only smelling the food, not eating it. Don’t be tempted to make up some sort of “smell yourself thin” diet thinking you can trick your brain into thinking you are full after taking a big whiff of a donut or roast chicken. 

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The texture, smell, and taste, as well as your expectation of a chocolate chip cookie will effect the flavor and your enjoyment.

Your taste buds can change

Just because you hated broccoli as a child doesn’t mean that you’ll hate broccoli as an adult. And, it actually has nothing to do with your taste buds changing, what is changing is your attitude towards new foods or foods that you previously didn’t like. For instance, if you’re spending a lot of time with someone who loves liver, or stinky cheese, a type of food that has previously disgusted you, then there is a good chance that their love of the food will transfer to you, opening your mind to new flavors.

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Want to open up your palate and experiment with new flavors, hire a local caterer who can help you put together an exciting, mouth-watering menu made from scratch.

We’ll give your taste buds something to shout about!