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Personal vs. cultural taste

Our predisposition to like or dislike some flavors is activated in childhood. Anyone is absolutely able to enjoy any flavor, as long as they have been exposed to it since their childhood, so taste preferences are a socially constructed and cultural factor. Among the possibilities we are exposed to, we make personal choices, sometimes for physiological needs, sometimes for affective memories. But what conditions a society to like one flavor more than others? Usually environmental factors, the food that is conducive to certain climates, soils and regions, thus building – a historical culture of food tradition based on environmental conditions.
With the advent of the great navigations, there was a circulation of different ingredients previously unknown to other continents. Thus, there was an exchange not only of flavors, but also of knowledge (clearly this relationship took place from a metropolis-colony perspective). Since then, little by little, spices from Asia merge with the gastronomic knowledge of Europe and ingredients from America. Centuries later, with globalization, means of communication and circulation of goods developed in such a way that, today, we no longer have only the food produced in our local regions, and with that, we have access to more and more flavors (but which are the flavors that matter to be imported?).
spices jessica giovanini ickfdphoto: Today Guide
With all this movement, we observed a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it is absolutely positive that the flavors of different cultures spread throughout the world; on the other hand, we know that this is not exactly equal. Accessibility is sometimes illusory, as there is an imposition of superiority that tries to convince us that “there are better flavors than others”. First, our European reference, as a former metropolis, later American imperialism, which was decisive in imposing our eating habits. It’s amazing how cyclical we are. Today, with contemporary trends, we try to revisit our local culture and value our regional products.
We still have a long way to go in the direction of honoring new flavors, learning to value new experiences with regard to taste. Remember that, to a child, the sour and the bitter may not have a negative value, since it is placed since childhood by their parents. In the same way that, for a child, a wine and a cheese do not seem as interesting as an apple or pear puree. Our palate is built, little by little, since childhood and our predilection is conditioned by the predilection of our environment. Suspecting what we like is a first step to rethinking the flavors we reject.

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