Oh, science! You know me so well. Talk about cheese and kerspring! You’ve got my complete and undivided attention. A new study says we eat with our brains first, and as such, the way foods taste could depend on the cutlery we use to eat them. For example: Cheese tasted saltier to participants when nibbled off a knife instead of a fork, spoon or toothpick. Who uses spoons for cheese, anyway?*
While the study on perception did not ask the question of how delicious cheese tastes when I pick it up with my own little fingers and shove it in my piehole, it did tackle the question of cutlery by testing various foods, reports the BBC.
It isn’t just the type of utensil, but its size, weight and color that all have an effect on flavor, says the study by a University of Oxford team published in the appropriately named Flavour journal.
So there’s the example of salty cheese, check. Then there’s the weight variable: When participants tasted food on small spoons typically used for dessert, it tasted sweeter. Researchers say this shows that when the weight of the utensil conformed to expectations — small spoon = dessert spoon = sweet — that had an impact on how the food tastes.
Color contrast was also taken into account. White yogurt slurped off a white spoon was rated sweeter than white yogurt on a black spoon.
“How we experience food is a multisensory experience involving taste, feel of the food in our mouths, aroma, and the feasting of our eyes,” said the study’s authors. “Even before we put food into our mouths our brains have made a judgment about it, which affects our overall experience.”
*I do, but only when challenged to do so.
Cutlery ‘can influence food taste’ [BBC News]