Food Makes Senses to Me

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Here is one of my new pets- an iridescent shark we named Bubbles.

Sorry I’ve been so lazy about posting to this blog. Between the holidays and being mesmerized by my new aquarium I haven’t been too interested in sitting at my computer. Then my friend Apple  described on Face Book how she perceives all objects as having a gender and a distinct personality. It reminded me that I once alluded to the fact that I can’t drink milk for reasons other than lactose intolerance. What do these two seemingly unrelated things have in common? Apple and I both have a condition called synesthesia.

In short, synesthesia is a condition where senses and perceptions cross each other in non-standard ways. The American Psychology Association’s Monitor on Psychology published this really cool article in 2001 about it.

My problem with milk? Like one of the people mentioned in the article above I taste in color. The flavor of milk is the most off-putting muddy green; I cannot tolerate it. Some foods actually taste of a shape or even a movement. I can easily tell if a candy is flavored with anise or liquorice by the shape of the taste. Anise is a series of wavy, fuzzy lines. Liquorice is a circle that keeps expanding. I can detect even a tiny fragment of mango in a fruit salad. The taste of mango is a rush towards my teeth- I have to resist the urge to spit it out. I don’t dislike the flavor of mango it just tastes really forward-moving.

Unfortunately, I do not think I will ever be able to do anything useful with my variety of synesthesia. I cannot, for example, deconstruct a complex recipe based on the colors/shapes/movement of the flavors. I can taste the yucky green of milk in hot chocolate or other beverages, but not in a cheese sauce, chowder, or buttercream icing.  Somehow combined foods form synesthetic impressions that do not always incorporate those of the components.

My food-related synesthesia has an effect on what I eat. It is also the reason I like to try new foods.  What are some unusual reasons you have for liking or disliking certain foods? Share in the comments!

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