Sunday, October 26, 2008

Synesthesia of shapes and tastes

I've never studied culinary arts or anything like that, so I'm unaware as to how people objectify and quantize tastes, but I always think of a cartesian graph with a y axis representing the melange of flavors in a drink or dish (lower coordinates represent heavy, dark tastes, and higher coordinates represent lighter, delicate tastes) and the x axis representing the time that the flavors progress. I'm sure this sounds confusing, but it gives me a better understanding and physical expectancy of the taste of something.
Here this inverted airfoil shape represents the way everyday average coffee tastes to me. The first part of the shape is the actual start of the way I taste coffee: the coffee's taste gradually becomes more apparent, hence the roundness. The middle portion of the shape represents the majority of the tastes in the coffee. The coffee that I'm drinking now is mostly bitter without any sugar in it, so the tastes that I'm getting are dark and heavy which is why the bottom portion of the shape is bowed downwards. The last portion of the shape represents the coffee's finish. I'm tasting a lingering bitterness, so the last portion is tapered and ends in a slanted point.

The only problem with this tasting shape is that it doesn't give you an exact idea of the flavors that you can expect. Bitter chocolate would have a similar shape to coffee; however, they're completely different in tastes. But, I think it does a decent job at describing the character of food and drink.

A circle would have a mellow start, a middle that has a wide range of flavors, and a finish that doesn't linger. A square would have an abrupt start, a wide range of flavors in the middle, and a quick finish. A half-rhombus flipped on its side would have an abrupt start, a distinct middle, and a finish that tapers.

How do you objectify your tastes?
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