Sensual Gardening ~ Part 1 ~ Taste

Blindfold taste test

Whilst doing some research for the follow-up of my introductory post, Sensual Gardening ~ A Taster, I’ve become increasingly aware that chatting to you about enhancing your senses isn’t going to be as straight forward as I anticipated and these posts are going to be slightly different to how I originally intended. But let’s just call that evolution. The more I learn the more I evolve and the more I am able to share with you all. Surely that’s an integral part of what we’re here to do, evolve and share our knowledge no matter how significant or insignificant we think that knowledge is. Anyway, on with the show and let’s see how it evolves ….

I’m starting off with the sense of taste mainly because I’m changing my eating habits and experimenting with a variety of new (to me) ingredients and flavours which has naturally piqued my interest in what taste is and how we sense the sensations we do. This is where the research distracted me away from my normal thoughts and perceptions of food and eating. All of our senses combine to give us the tastes we experience, our senses of sight, smell, touch and even what we hear all play a part. Throw the fact that our sense of taste has six senses of its own into the mix; salt, sweet, sour, bitter, fat and the one we often forget to mention, umami, you can see how and why these posts are becoming less straightforward than I thought. But I haven’t finished yet, let’s toss our memory into the pot, our childhood and other past experiences all affect our perception of what we are tasting. How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say, ‘Mmm, tastes just like how Mum used to make it’ (or not as good as ..)  So in this post I’m going to allow the links I’ve included to do all the hard work whilst I chat to you about my culinary education and gardening.

health on a plate

I decided to change my diet not only for health reasons but also to add a bit of spice and variety into my life, try new experiences in the comfort of my own home and garden. Notice another connection with ‘evolving’ going on here? For years I’ve grown a variety of herbs in my garden, mainly for aesthetic and aromatic gardening reasons (which I explained in my introductory post ) rather than for culinary use. Okay I’d snip a few leaves and use them in a typical English salad then smother them in the ubiquitous shop bought salad cream. I’d make the occasional cup of mint tea, but not much else. That’s changing, and so is my garden. By experiencing and discovering ‘tastes’ that give me that hit of ‘Wow-Ness’ allied with the sensation and knowledge that it’s doing me good has awakened my awareness to what other herbs and plants I can grow in my garden pantry. I already grow garden, apple and pepper-mint mints but there are so many others to try. It’s the same for many other herbs, there so many more varieties to be found and experienced in a collection of seed packets than the usual supermarket offerings of parsley, coriander (cilantro), chives and basil.

Everything I’ve mentioned here is developing my senses. From growing herbs, vegetables and other edible plants, harvesting them, preparing them for a meal and finally eating them, involves the full range of my senses; touch, smell, hearing (yes, hearing!), sight and of course taste. Engaging with our food more connects us to and develops our senses. It brings new experiences into our lives and enhances our wellbeing at so many levels. So my latest catchphrase and message to you is “Enhance Your Senses and Enhance Your Life.”

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