We all know that it is very ugly and impolite to eat with your mouth open, so we are used to chewing slowly and not slurping. An Oxford University expert urges us to forget about these social norms, because only by violating these rules can we enjoy the full taste of food!
“We did everything wrong,” said Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology. “Parents instill good manners in their children, but chewing with an open mouth can actually help release more volatile organic compounds, contributing to a better perception of food.”
No more rules?
Meat, fruits and vegetables contain volatile organic compounds such as esters, ketones, terpenoids and aldehydes. They give the dish a characteristic aroma and give it a special taste.
When they enter a certain part of the nose, olfactory sensory neurons are activated, which directly connect to the brain and enhance our perception of food.
But the sound of slurping also plays a role! Professor Spence said: “When it comes to sound, we love noisy food – think of crunchy food. Apples, chips, chicken breading — all this excites the appetite. But in order to better hear the crunch of an apple, potato crust, carrot stick, cracker, crusty bread or a handful of popcorn, we should always drop our manners and chew with our mouth open.”
To further disappoint our parents, the expert also says that we can eat food with our hands, which is better to evaluate the taste qualities. Research shows that the tactile sensation of food can make us feel its taste better.
“Our sense of touch also plays a vital role in our perception of food taste. Feeling the smooth, organic texture of the apple peel in our hand before biting it whole is likely to contribute to a deeper perception of the juiciness, sweetness and crunch of this first piece,” explains the scientist.