Does Food Become Tastier With Age?

foodsIt’s true that our taste changes as we get older. As we mature, we’ll come around to the archaic saying that certain things are, in fact, an ‘acquired taste’. With experience comes acceptance and many of the foods that we scoffed at in our earlier years become things that we begin to hold a real penchant for later on.

It’s scientific fact that as we get older, our taste buds will decline due to a variety of reasons such as poor oral care finally catching up with us and the deterioration of our taste receptors. With that in mind, perhaps it’s a case of ‘you only live once’ that we choose to embrace and begin to sample new foods as soon as we hit an experimental age.

Of course, this diminished sense of smell and taste may be a large contributing factor in the way we choose to sample different foods, especially street foods. Our perception of taste and smell as a child is innocent and relatively new. With more life experience and sharpened senses, something will start to taste and smell different in our perception. This is attributed largely to foreign foods, an alien idea for children but a welcomed reward for an older generation.

It’d be unfair to pin it all on diminishing taste buds as it’s hard to argue that something such as calamari (an acquired taste) tastes bad, though to a youngster, eating a bowl of squid does not hold a candle to a plate of mozzarella sticks. There is no discernible reason for a change in eating habits; it’s primarily linked with the way an individual grew up and in today’s active society, this could mean a whole range of things.

More and more youngsters are taking advantage of the excellent gap-year opportunities given to them by enthusiastic companies. With significant travel comes significant experience; whilst out and about, young people will sample foreign delicacies that they would not have had a chance to taste beforehand and their taste buds will grow. Later in life, they will hold a finer appreciation for other foods and drinks and perhaps even compare the two, signalling that if they can sample some of the world’s most exotic dishes, a serving of goat’s cheese tart is child’s play.

Another factor could be the food accompanying a certain dish and the connotations it sends. As we get older, we may wish to use more herbs and spices on our dishes. Our sensory reactions to hot foods become more daring as we wish to enhance our slackening taste receptors.

As our palates expand, our physiology does too and our levels of maturity open us up to new experiences and new choices. Sometimes it may be to fit in with peers or to dare ourselves to try something new, but overall, it’s a vast mixture of contributing factors that have the real say in the way we sample different foods, eating from a diverse range of cultures and getting a true taste of the World.

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