Sabor a tango

2009 January 12
by Simba

Tango fruit by Simba tango, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License by  Simba tango

It is common to say that we taste four diffent tastes: sweet, salt, bitter and sour. Combinations of these make up all other tastes. Sounds familiar? You may be guessing what I’m getting at…

The experience of taste, or should I say the experience of a meal, which we humans make for the pure pleasure of enjoying the different tastes and combinations, consists of a lot more than these four basic tastes (some also include umami, but that’s not the point).

In addition to the four basic tastes, the consistency of what we eat obviously makes quite a difference, porridge and beef are quite different in this respect, spaghetti needs to be al dente. Whether it is hot or cold,  hard or soft, wet or dry… The list goes on and on. We also have pain receptors in the mouth, which respond to things like chili, adding the spicy sting that the Argentines do not seem to enjoy very much.

The smells are also very important. This is a point frequently made by the wine connoisseurs, much of what we consider taste, is actually smell, try to enjoy a nice vintage while your nose is blocked by a cold…

Presentation, or the visual aspect of food also makes quite a difference. No surprise that the finest cuisines make a lot of effort in presenting their food as delicately and elegantly as possible, balancing colour, volumes and textures for the best possible visual experience in addition to the tastes.

Finally, the ambience or context of the meal also adds a lot (or reduces, depending on the circumstances). Sitting alone in a nice restaurant does not create the same feelings for the food as sharing it with good friends in a nice environment.

You probably guessed already, the same goes for tango. What makes up a good dance, or a good night depends on a lot of factors, and we need to add some spice to the dance to keep it interesting.

Don’t dance all porridge, add some spice to your dance. And make sure to savor everything it has to offer. Why not explore some new flavours the next time you go out dancing?

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