Taste Memory and Vocabulary
In her notes for the Savantes programme, Judy Ridgway comments on the importance of practice along the following lines. Experts become so through practice. They build up a memory bank of tastes and flavours which they can then use as a point of comparison. We all do this in a small way. Every time you choose a Pink Lady apple over a Golden Delicious or a Granny Smith you are relying on your taste memory of apples generally. However, conveying the reasons for these choices to another person is not so easy. Talking about aroma and flavour in a precise manner is difficult.
We usually describe flavours and aromas by reference to other food and drinks. For example the aromas of wines and oils are often considered to be reminiscent of fruit, vegetables or nuts. The problem is that one person’s memory of baked apples may not be the same as another’s! One person may say that an item smells of almond cake and marzipan where another will describe the same item as smelling of wet cloths! Opinions will vary and may even be contradictory.
Nevertheless a taste vocabulary is very important and one of the aims of the Savantes programme is to help develop the discipline to build this vocabulary.