Ways to Improve your Palate
As children, it’s common to dislike some foods even without trying them – it may be its smell, appearance or consistency that just simply puts you off. Once tried it’s often the texture or taste that can totally ruin any chance of it appearing on your plate again any time soon! Plus, taste can also be affected by the temperature and even the memories evoked from eating some foods.
But don’t you find it strange that foods once despised as a child can become a firm favourite as an adult? Well, that’s because we have a palate which is continually maturing and changing. We’re born with over 10,000 taste buds located on the surface of the tongue inside papillae – the bumps you see when you stick out your tongue. Within them are 50 to 100 taste cells all with receptors that send messages to your brain.
As we get older, those taste buds we still retain become less sensitive when the nerves start to wear out. So those foods we once detested become more tolerable. There are other ways to help improve your palate and here are some ideas:
Change the menu
Don’t stick to the same food all the time. Increase the diversity of what you eat by changing the texture, colour and flavour. It’s all about stretching your tastebuds’ ability!
Be Aware and Eat Slowly
Try not to eat in front of the TV, at your desk or in the car. Life’s busy but slow down to really savour what you’re eating. When we’re distracted at a mealtime, digestive processes can become less effective by 30-40%. Mindful and slow eating can overcome this as it teaches you to really savour the different textures and flavours in your food. It also makes you draw in more aromatic molecules into receptors in the nose, stimulating the pleasure centres in the brain.
Are you on Medication?
Some medications can change the taste of food as they alter the taste sensation, in some cases permanently. Your doctor may be able to help alleviate any side effects like this by altering the dose. However, adding spice and using strong flavoured foodstuffs into your diet may help.
Do you Smoke?
Nicotine suppresses the ability of your taste buds and interferes with both your sense of taste and smell.
Gum disease can affect your sense of taste and may cause a metallic taste in your mouth that masks flavours. So, making sure you’ve got a healthy mouth is key.
Tasty Additives to Get You Out of your Comfort Zone
Add garlic, herbs and spices to stretch your taste buds. Experiment with different proportions to find your perfect combination. Try a different menu each week – get adventurous and train your tongue to accept different flavours to expand your gastronomic repertoire!
Here at the Gascony Cookery School you will definitely be encouraged to try different recipes. We can guarantee your tastebuds will be subjected to many wonderful flavours and your gastronomic repertoire will certainly be expanded! Take a look at our courses by clicking here.
David, Vikki & Bernard