According to Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at Oxford University, the environment affects the way we experience food and drink. Example, the color and weight of the utensils can affect how salty or sweet a meal tastes. Furthermore, people will enjoy the same meal more if it has a long and more descriptive name. Even the small adjustment can profoundly enhance your dining experience. This article walks you through how to make a meal taste better through mental perception.
Just like what any exceptional chef will tell you, food presentation makes a great difference. People tend to enjoy the food more if the plating is artistic compared to when the same ingredients are seemingly dumped on the plate.
The color and the shape of the dinnerware also affects the taste. Generally, a white round plate tends to enhance the taste of food while black angular plates brings out more savory flavors. A red plate, on the other hand, reduces the amount of food one eats. This is because most people associate red with danger.
The hue of lights in the dining room also affects the taste as well as how food looks which in turn affects how we perceive food. We tend to like bright light when tasting strong flavors but prefer to eat subtly flavored food and drinks in dim light.
Red and green lighting adds fruitiness to red wine while men will eat less under blue lighting. Also according to a study carried out, people who like weak coffee drink more under dim light whereas people who prefer strong coffee drink more when under bright light. Though this phenomenon cannot be fully explained, Spence says that it may be because we expect certain foods to have a specific color so yellow milk and blue chicken just looks odd.
According to Spence, music can also enhance the dining experience or ruin it ,though it is something that most chefs do not think about.
Pairing food with music is a science and an art. People tend to enjoy sweet tasting food more when it is associated with wind chimes and high-pitched sounds while savory foods are sweeter when associated with brass instruments and lower pitched sounds. A study also found that people enjoyed wine more when the drinking is paired with classical music. Today, diners use their phones to entertain themselves, but studies show that smartphones will distract a diner as well as reduce the enjoyment of the meal. Time to unplug!
When people are depressed or in a really bad mood, they are not interested in eating any meal no matter how delicious it is. Small levels of stress can taint the taste of meals, but telling jokes before the meal helps to lighten the mood as well as the overall dining experience.
This explains why you are less likely to have great meals when you are fighting with your partner. Also, according to Spence, we enjoy meals more when eating with friends than when eating alone.
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