The sense of touch and its relation to gourmet cuisine- Part 1
I have already told you about a very important element of our sense of sight and its relation to gourmet in my post What is fovea and what does it have to do with gourmet?. Now it’s time to tell about the neurology behind the sense of touch or our sensation in this third publication in a row from the latest rubric by placescases.com, 5D Sensograph.
Reading time: 5 min.
In my reviews, when I review and rate a place, I put on the second place of my descriptions the sense of touch but I put a broader meaning in it. I discuss how I felt about the staff’s customer approach. I’m writing about the different textures or temperatures I’ve felt in food. I’m talking about skin contact or the feeling of warm and cool in the room. To my delight, I didn’t have to mention physical pain. But here we should bear in mind that if a client feels very hurt and offended for some reason, by the attitude of the staff, it is registered by the brain as physical pain.
Neuroscientists have concluded that mental pain causes a similar reaction in the human brain as physical pain.
The information I share here about the sense of touch is taken from my textbooks in psychology and scientific articles. I delved into a book by the world-renowned neurobiologist at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. David Linden, The Compass of Pleasure.
A lot of interesting things have been written by this remarkable modern scientist in his book, a very small part of which I share with you in this article.
It has long been clear how important our feelings are for remembering a fact, an event or a person. The more senses are involved in a situation, the better we remember it. The more the senses are engaged in the perception of the food served to us in the 5 or 10-course meal, the more memorable the experience of a gourmet dinner.
These tasting menus are a very tricky thing, because in front of you are lined up like a kaleidoscope dishes like paintings, with different tastes, smells and sensations, and many in number, you can barely remember them and on top of that you have to be full, but not fed up at the end.
Now, for all readers who have not realized how our brains process all this information, I reveal what lies behind the good customer feedback for a multi-tiered dinner.
Capacity of memory
The human brain has the ability to easily store memories for a few seconds or up to a few minutes in the short-term memory up to 4 things. A little harder is to remember up to 7 things. And it’s even harder to remember 10 items. For over 10 we need mnemonic devices or supernatural abilities.
A mnemonic device is a method for easier memorization of a large amount of information.
There’s no way you haven’t watched in a reality format, how someone remembers up to 30-50 words in 5-6 minutes and then repeats them without error. This is done precisely with the help of these mnemonic devices, for the use of which you need skill and training.
So, when you come across a dish with several aromas, flavors, colors and textures, imagine what is left in your brain. And if 5 or 10 of them are lined up, how much do you manage to remember? It certainly doesn’t occur to you to use mnemonic devices because you came for dinner, not an exam. Probably you could remember 1 or 2 of the most impressive dishes. Very often one of them is the dessert. This is not accidental. It may be due to the fact that it is last in the long line of dishes. According to cognitive psychology, usually in a series of elements, the first and the last are remembered the most. But there may be another reason. Dr. Linden wrote in his book that…
… The human brain is designed so that when you eat sweet, fat and salt, you are most excited and release dopamine at the time of consumption. Dopamine is the ingratiation hormone.
Often the other memorable dish, is the main course, although it is in the middle or penultimate position in the series, where elements are harder to remember. This dish usually is more satiable, fatty and salty. MMM, delicious and rich in dopamine! 😊
The problem with memory capacity is that after a maximum of a few minutes, in most cases seconds, these 7-10 elements, which we can easily insert into our short-term memory, disappear, and if they do not transfer to the long-term memory, they will fly away forever, or at least that’s what scientists have found so far. Long-term memory is exactly where all businesses want their customers to store the experience in their restaurant, hotels, bars. If one stores pleasant memories in the long-term memory, they strive to experience them again, so they come back to this establishment and give their money to it again.
How does the chef of our multi-course menu cope in this situation? How to instill in the client’s head good memories of the masterpieces he created on a plate, fruit of so much dedication to gastronomy, trial and error, torment and sleepless hours?
I have already mentioned that sweets make things unusual and memorable. Well, yes, but you can’t put jam in every dish, because they still won’t be different from each other. To pump all the dishes with fat and salt and fry the poor client’s brain with dopamine? No way, it still doesn’t work! The primary reason is that just as with drugs, it happens that with the time of abuse, the amount of dopamine that is released with the same amount of external stimuli is less and less. Such tactic will backlash, since the client will be super full and will stop eating, leaving unsatisfied.
How master chefs solve this case, read in The sense of touch and its relation to gourmet cuisine- Part 2. Follow it in the 5D Sensograph rubric.
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This publication in 2 parts does not exhaust all the possibilities for high skills of professional chefs, is not the result of a scientific experiment or study, but uses external sources and does not claim to be scientific material, generally accepted truth or fact.