Changing a Sense

Now this is a strange change... it's about taste. You can with time and practice change how you taste things. Let me explain how this is done. 

First, pick a category of food that you find really interesting and enjoyable. You might choose wine or beer, chocolate, green tea, whisky, coffee or cheese. I am increasingly of the opinion that it doesn't matter. The key is to pick a category where there are many variations around a rather narrow range. Don't pick something really broad like a whole cuisine. No, find something that is quite specific and theoretically the delta between item to item is often subtle and subjective.

Second, find the people who obsessively, compulsively magnify discussion of the subtle differences. There will be a cottage industry around the food item: judging, competing, manufacturing. There will be a highly lucrative industry supporting the same. There will be food scientists specialising in the product, companies who have ben around since god made little green apples, and upstart newbies attempting to distrupt the category. They will meet for 'fests and 'vanas during which all hobbiests and professionals will mingle and share their culturally specific strangeness. There will be 'zines online and in print, trade publications, blogs, and pundits. With effort you can and will find a shop somewhere in your city who literally does nothing but sell things relating to this one very specific tiny category of food and like a shop selling D&D figurines, you will be able to walk into that shop any time of day or night and be instantly surrounded in people with encylopedic and strong opinions about your thing.

Finally, take a class. There will be a class. There is always a class. Take a class and then start practicing everything you learn every time you taste that category. Read the judging criteria, compare brands, learn the jargon and the lingo, understand the fads, the trends, the history, the evolution, the regions, the 'paper versus cloth' arguments. Make some of your thing from scratch and moan about how much it tastes like shit and then make it again and again until it starts to taste like something you'd actually want to have in your life. 

Then taste literally any other food category and apply the same critical lens to the new thing. And suddenly it tastes different. You taste flavours you never noticed before. Hints of this and whiffs of that, mouth feel and appearance and aroma. It is like you had the virtual version of tastebud noise cancelling earmuffs on your tongue your entire life, and you've suddenly pulled them off and discovered a new world. 

This morning's epiphany curtousy of a tea bag. Tea is not my thing. Beer is my thing. However, I will never use a paper tea bag from a cheap as chips brand again. This tastes like oxidised, over roasted shit.