LessWrong Experience of Flavours

by Elo 2 min read24th Apr 201526 comments


Following on from: 

  • http://lesswrong.com/lw/m2r/lesswrong_experience_on_alcohol/ and
  • http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/m3j/tally_of_lesswrong_experience_on_alcohol/

I would like to ask for other people's experience of flavours.  I am dividing food into significant categories that I can think of.  I don't really like the 5 tastes categories for this task, but I am aware of them.  This post is meant to be about taste preference although it might end up about dietary preferences.

My experience:

I dislike spicy things.  Chilli, Curry, too much pepper, horseraddish; are all not nice things.  I do eat wasabi but I like that the flavour goes away unlike chilli which continues to burn.  I do eat like sweet chilli.

I am completely and uselessly over-addicted to sugar.  Nearly every food I eat is sugar-based.  I have no problem with savoury food; but I would completely prefer to eat sweet things to savoury. I like chocolate.  (I tend to cook a lot and end up with sugar in a lot of the foods I cook - and they taste delicious)

Drinks: 95% of what I drink is water; I drink soy milk as a drink (about once a week), I don't mind milk but don't drink it much.  I drink apple juice (and previously accidentally conditioned my brain to treat it like coffee-wakeup so am trying to maintain my conditioning and not drink it too often).  I dislike processed orange juice for its bitterness, however enjoy fresh orange juice (I realise that some people cannot taste the difference so you might have to trust me).  I rarely drink cordial and rarely drink soft drink.  

Hot drinks: I don't drink coffee, I rarely drink tea (less than once a month, and coincidentally only with other people, not for myself as I might drink or eat other foods), and when I do; drink it with several sugars (upwards of 2-3).  I do drink hot chocolate but rarer than tea.

I dislike the taste of alcohol, anything from beer; wine; spirits.  The only alcohols I can happily drink is an uncommon lychee liqueur and the alcohol Bitters (I am not sure if its actually meant to be bitter but) I don't find bitter and will drink it happily, Bitters is usually a ^40% and meant to be used as a dash (as in "lemon lime and bitters"), I can happily drink 4x or more in a drink.  Tequila will make me throw up most of the time.

I dislike bitter foods; Olives, coffee, several of the vegetables listed below.

Vegetables I don't eat: bussel sprouts, asparagus, squash, any lettuce other than iceberg, string-beans, artichoke.  They have never tasted nice to me. Bok Choy was a vegetable that I did not eat; but now do.  Although it can be not-nice tasting if cooked in a way I don't like.

animal base products: I eat meat, fish, cheese, honey and like the taste of all of them quite a lot.  I have tried many tofu, false-meat and other substitutes and also find them to taste nice.  

I eat a lot of cheese ~1-2kg per week. I eat peanut butter from the jar.

Sour: I don't like sour foods as much as some people I know. (I know someone who eats citric acid almost by the spoonful)

vinegar: I like vinegar.

Starch foods; potato, bread, rice, oat, pasta, corn.  I don't mind any of these and eat them equal with their ease and availability with the exception of not liking the annoyance of eating corn; although I am completely happy with the flavour.  I don't like the taste of any bread that isn't white bread (bread with seeds or brown bread or sourdough is not appealing to me)

salty foods: I don't have much preference of salty food. (I knew someone who was eating salt almost by the spoonful)

If you would like to share your preferences on the following groups (some of unusual nature, or all):

  • spicy foods (mention chilli, curry, horseraddish, wasabi)
  • sweet things (mention sweetness in general, chocolate)
  • alcohol has been covered in the last post.
  • drinks, (hot and cold temperature, fruit, soft drink, cordial, coffee)
  • bitter foods (olives)
  • excluded vegetabes (any that you do not eat)
  • animal products (stick to discussion on taste, not ethics this time)
  • tofu or other replacement-animal-products
  • sour (fruits that are particularly sour)
  • vinegar
  • starchy preferences
  • saltyness preferences.
I would appreciate all the opinions and perspectives on taste preferences and what they might be linked to.  Not really sure what we might find.

(possible next post on whether taste preferences impact on people's choice of going vegetarian/vegan; Hypothesis - less care of the flavours of meat makes it easier to choose a lifestyle without meat in it)

Edit: it occurs to me that I should not have included my own preference; but maybe put it in a comment to avoid people being distracted by my preference.

I do wonder about other correlations between taste and human actions.  i.e. spicy foods and opinions on conservative/risk taking behaviour.  Or low-gi and high-gi food preference and internal models of energy levels/ how you maintain energy, focus and expectations of these over the period of one day.