If you are shopping for a new dress, it makes great sense for you to pick out a few things that you like and try them on to see if they compliment your body.
You have fabric, color and style preferences that guide your decision about what makes the cut into the dressing room with you.
Many people will be creatures of habit and choose something safe and familiar. Yet, if you don’t try out new styles, you’ll never know what you might be missing.
This same principle can help you as much in your kitchen as it does in a dress shop.
When you go dress shopping you can go to new stores, pick out new styles and fabrics and put things together in different combinations that look and feel good.
With food, you can visit different grocery stores or farmer’s markets, prepare new recipes and experiment with foods with unfamiliar sensory qualities.
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Criteria for clothing include items such as fabrics, necklines and fasteners.
Food criterion can be summed up into tastes, temperatures, textures and cuisines.
To expand your descriptive palette and broaden your sensory choices, it is wise to familiarize yourself with a vocabulary of culinary and flavor descriptions.
Taste: artisanal (hand crafted), bitter, salty, savory, sour, sweet, tangy, terroirs (regional flavors), umami (savory, brothy, rich or meaty)
Temperature: cold, hot, warm, spicy
Texture (lots of overlap and complexity, but rely upon your gut response to how you would describe the mouth feel of foods you enjoy): chewy, chunky, crunchy, creamy, crispy, firm, foamy, smooth, thick, thin
Cuisines: American, Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Middle-Eastern, Thai
Amanda Archibald, founder of Field to Plate has artfully crafted a concept that enhances people’s awareness about the nuances of flavor.
She conducts tastings with flights of flavor to help her audience connect with the sensory qualities they most enjoy. You might coin her work as “the flavors that fit.”
So, beyond pleasure, why is flavor so important? In 2004, Michael Pollan wrote an article for The New York Times Magazine entitled “Our National Eating Disorder.” He remarks that other cultures have been eating the same way for generations using taste and tradition to guide their decisions.
He goes on to note that cultures, such as French people, that focus on pleasure instead of science are healthier than people in the United States.
He completes his article by proposing that the relationship of pleasure and health should not be contradictory but rather one in which the two might be married at the table.
Consider that by pursuing pleasing flavors, you may also be pursing health.
The number of terms to describe flavors is infinite. No matter what the nomenclature, finding these flavors is like finding the perfect dress. It will have you wearing a look of sensory satisfaction and exuding health which is a beautiful look indeed.
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Lori Reamer, RD is a nutritionist with more than 20 years of experience. Her most recent accomplishment is a book/website/blog entitled The Food That Fits: A Guide to Mastering Your Food Style. It is a concept that uses fashion theory to help you find your food practice. A lover of both fashion and food, she hopes to entertain and educate you about a topic that never goes out of style....food!