Book: Bangla Foods and Recipes
Author: Rakhi Mandal - Researcher, Food & Recipes
Our tongue is associated with the taste of food that we eat. Readers, just imagine what would happen if our ear, nose, or eyes would take the place of the tongue to taste the food? Are you confused? Taste is the most important fact that is directly involved with our food habits and choice.
Savor, taste, flavor are similar words. We often say the word “taste” several times. What is this taste? Life becomes tasteless or dull without this taste. Tongue, the organ that is deeply involved with taste. The tongue is always wet with our saliva. In fact, the tongue is a sense that allows you to experience the taste of food. The taste is defined as
Basically, the tongue is the effective organ of our body to taste the food or to feel the taste of food. What is the feeling of the taste. To have the answer it is mandatory to know the organs first.
We know, humans five different organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin) to feel different kinds of sensation. Another sense beyond these is known as “sixth sense”. The sense that is not felt with these five senses is felt with the sixth sense. I had a curiosity about the feeling and sense from the beginning. What may happen when an idea relevant to food comes to a food lover like me? Imagine the situation with your sixth sense for now.
The capability to feel is known as sense. It is a system with a sensory cell cluster. These cells respond to a specific physical phenomenon and are related to the central nervous system (the place from where the signals are received and translated).
It is also said that sense is the organ or power by which knowledge or perception of external issues are derived and act can be implemented.
We know human have five senses. These are-
Are there only five senses? Many scholars are not agreed with this concept. They researched more on this topic and declared that human being has fourteen senses. Eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin- these five are sense organs or organs of perception. Speech, hand, leg, sodomy, and uterus-these five are organs of action. Mind, intelligence, pride and soul or intellectual power – these four are inner sense. (Mind is the director of all sense organ)
The tongue is one organ of all sense organs for which we can feel the taste. We basically feel five kinds of taste with our tongue such as sweet, salted, sour, bitter and umami( savory taste, the taste of Amino Acid Glutamate, that is present in meat and spicy food). The rest of the tastes are felt in combination with these tastes.
There is a controversy that, the taste sense is solely build up with five organs because the separate receivers of taste-bud of tongue receive these five types of taste. But, usually, it is considered as a sense organ. The sent signal is created from the sense organ, sending through the adjacent nerve fiber to the central nervous system is basically created by the chemical reaction of food particles in the receiver of taste-bud.
However, in the Western world, Aristotle first claims that all flavors are made of two basic flavors, sweet and bitter. According to the ancient Indian Ayurvedic medical scriptures, there are 6 types of taste: acidic, sweet, bitter, salty, sour and acerbity.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the psychologists believed in four basic flavors of taste: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Umami is still not recognized as the fifth taste, but many people now recognize it as the fifth taste.
Below are different types of tastes we get with the tongue –
Sweet Taste is generally regarded as a satisfying sensation. It is produced in the presence of sugar and several other substances. Sweetness is often linked to aldehydes and ketones that connected to carbonyl groups.
Sweet foods provide energy to the body and increase the vitality of the living being. These are made up of simple and complex carbohydrates.
Sour is a taste in which acidity is felt. The taste of an object is measured by subjecting it to the minor hydrochloric acid. In the acid index whose position is no 1.
Acidic foods are those that increase the acidity levels of the blood, this is negative because, by having broad acid standards, the body makes more effort to keep the Ph in balance, weakening the immune system and running the risk of contracting some disease. These are coffee, chocolate, red and white meat, cereals, seafood, soft drinks, etc. Excessive consumption of these foods is harmful to the human body.
The presence of sodium ions initially produces salty tastes. Other molecules of alkali metal have a salt taste, but it is less salty than sodium.
So, salty foods are those that contain certain percentages of sodium. Salt is widely used in world cuisine, however, using it in excess can cause hypertension and other diseases that decrease and deteriorate the quality of life of people. Sausages, fats, ham, and even some legumes are rich in salt, therefore, they should be consumed moderately.
Bitterness is the most sensitive taste and many find it unpleasant, annoying, or unbearable. Common bitter foods and drinks are coffee, quinine, citrus fruits, jute herbs, beer, etc.
Bitter foods have the ability to stimulate digestive juices and help better digest food. This is because they can stimulate taste receptors , which are found on the tongue, to later stimulate greater enzyme production and the flow of bile . Better digestion of them also promotes greater absorption of nutrients, since it does not matter how much food you eat, but how much nutrients are absorbed.
Bitter tasting foods are especially vegetables (artichokes, squash, chard, asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.). There are also drinks with this flavor: coffee, beer, or lemon juice. It is a flavor that is not accepted by a part of the population and the proof of this is that it is often mixed with sugar.
The reason is that the taste buds of the tongue have a certain rejection towards certain plant substances in these foods and it is believed that it is an evolutionary mechanism to detect the bitter taste of poisons. This would explain why children are not very fond of eating vegetables.
Bitter vegetables have phytonutrients that promote better liver function, control cholesterol, help balance hormones, detoxify the blood, and improve fat metabolism. In general, bitter greens are rich in nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They are also rich in folic acid, fiber, and low in fat and sodium.
Umami is an appetizing taste and is referred to as an aromatic or meaty flavor. This term is of Japanese origin and means “pleasant” and basically encompasses all those foods or foods whose flavor is exotic and pleasant to the palate.
Ripe and dried tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, Chinese cabbage, green tea, anchovies, and Parmesan cheese are some of the foods that belong to the umami category. Transgenic foods (those that are produced through modifications in organisms through genetic engineering) may also be included here. This taste is also available in cheese and soy sauce.
We indeed like to have food depending on how our tongue feels to taste. Doing so, sometimes we deprive ourselves of required nourishment. So to have a healthy life we must pay attention to the nourishment not only on the taste of our tongue.