There are two main ways we take in the world – through the sense of taste (food) and through the impressions of our senses of the outside world.   All eating is a communion.   Through the sense of taste we differentiate between the different kinds of tastes and in one sense, commune with the life giving properties of life – food!  The sense of taste depends on the liquid element (saliva)  as all food must first be partially dissolved before we can taste it.   Our sense of taste goes deep into the very core of matter as our taste buds warn us if something is not consumable.   We develop a sense of what tastes good and edible.   The quality of our life will vary according to what kind of food we eat – how developed our taste buds are for health.

In the same way  we develop a “taste” for what is beautiful and good in life.   The sense of taste is connected to our feeling life and how we meet the outside world.   The sense of taste occurs on a physical level as we distinguish the characteristics of what we eat (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami) and an emotional level in the defining of experiences ( “how sweet!” or “that was a bitter pill to swallow,”  “the memory makes me puke,”  “my day was so delicious!”).

The sense of taste helps us to nourish and give our bodies health.  I think about how babies put everything into their mouths. They explore and discover life not only through touch but also through their sense of taste.   Perhaps they are developing a “taste” for life!

We have almost 10,000 taste buds inside our mouths including the roofs of our mouths.   Each taste bud is made up of receptor cells that live for only a few weeks and then are replaced by new receptors cells.  While each receptor in a taste bud will respond best to one of the five basic tastes – it can respond to the other tastes.

The tongue is an organ of the liver and does not want to eat/taste what it does not know.   Introduce new food flavors and textures to your children gently.

Bitter–  The bitter taste performs on a protective level.  It’s unpleasant taste helps to prevent the ingeston of toxic substances.
Salty– The salty taste intensifies the eating experience. Salt suppresses bitterness.
Sour – The sour taste buds are another protective receptors.  It can prevent the ingestion of harmful substances.  Sour can be agreeable in small doses.
Sweetness – The sweet taste is a emotionally bonding taste.  Stimulates consumption.
Umami is described as a savory or meaty taste -sensitive to amino acids

The next installment on the Twelve Senses will not be until March 20th as I will be on Spring Break and traveling!