France is a country remarkably conscious of food education. They consider it the first step in teaching the rules of life. Nearly all elementary schools in France hold “Taste Classes” where students learn that eating is a sensory experience beyond simply taste but involves all five senses. It is also common for the French to spend 15 minutes for breakfast, an hour for lunch and over 1 hour for dinner. By enjoying and spending time on their meals, their saliva secretion becomes active, enhancing their taste sensations.
Providing opportunities to try various kinds of food from their childhood, enjoying the atmosphere while eating and making enough time to eat, ensures that France is creating the best environment possible to boost its peoples’ sense of taste.
In Japanese culture in the past, people thought that experience would be the best way to discipline children’s sense of taste because if parents were to limit children only the food they preferred, their senses would become dull and remain child-like even as they grew older.
One’s food preferences are greatly influenced by experiences in one’s childhood, so adults need to recognize their responsibility towards building a broader sense of taste for their child.
Of course, while it is ideal to start food education as early as possible, it is actually possible to heighten your sense of taste even if you are in your forties or fifties.
The chef-owner of a restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, Seiko Mikuni, had this to say, “No matter how old you are, to sharpen your sense of taste, it is crucial to be aware of each taste you experience every time you eat something. In this way, no matter if you are beginning in our forties or sixties or even eighties; as long as you keep the discipline of being aware, you will be able to train your sense of taste.”
It is not too much to say that we eat to support our lives, so training our sense of taste teaches us to learn how to eat better, which ultimately leads up to greater support for our daily lives. If we are able to think of it in this manner, we will realize that cultivating a heightened sense of taste will have the power to enrich not just meal but life itself.
Adapted from the original article in Japanese by Housecom.
Read the original here.
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Also published on Medium.