Deep assumptive thoughts here…
But when it comes to the psychology behind what tastes you are drawn too?
If THIS is true:
[via io9] Why people with a sweet tooth are just generally sweeter people
It all sounds a bit insane: people who like sweet foods are someone just generally nicer than people who don’t. It sounds like the latest example of dubious evolutionary psychology, but it’s actually about how language subtly shapes our behavior.
A team of researchers from North Dakota State, Gettysburg College, and Saint Xavier University designed a series of five experiments to see how taste preferences related to behavior. One experiment showed participants that ate a sweet food like chocolate were more likely to volunteer to help somebody than those who had eaten a non-sweet food like a cracker. Another study revealed how people view the taste preferences of others. It turns out people tend to think those with a sweet tooth are more agreeable and helpful than others, and less likely to be neurotic or extroverted.
There are a bunch of ways one could attempt to explain this result. You might apply an evolutionary perspective to all this and imagine that, in the early days of humanity, those who particularly liked sweet foods were good at foraging for fruit. Gathering food is a cooperative activity, and those who found the most fruit would by extension be seen as particularly giving and helpful by the rest of the group. Of course, that’s all completely bonkers, but it wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard lately.
But the researchers took a different, rather more interesting tack. Their hypothesis is that language encodes certain metaphors that link otherwise unrelated areas of our experience, and that over time how we think of one can affect how we view the other. Gettysburg professor Dr. Brian Meier explains:
“Taste is something we experience every day. Our research examined whether metaphors that link taste preferences with pro-social experiences (e.g., “she’s a sweetheart”) can be used to shed light on actual personality traits and behavior.
“It is striking that helpful and friendly people are considered ‘sweet’ because taste would seem to have little in common with personality or behavior. Yet, recent psychological theories of embodied metaphor led us to hypothesize that seemingly innocuous metaphors can be used to derive novel insights about personality and behavior. Importantly, our taste studies controlled for positive mood so the effects we found are not due to the happy or rewarding feeling one may have after eating a sweet food.”
That last bit is an important caveat – it is possible that the effect the researchers observed is a physiological reaction to sweet foods, not a psychological one. But assuming they did correctly control for the rewarding feeling that sweet foods can provide, then these findings do seem to support the idea that a preference for sweet foods inclines people to generally act sweetly. North Dakota State’s Dr. Michael D. Robinson adds:
“Our results suggest there is a real link between sweet tastes and pro-social behavior. Such findings reveal that metaphors can lead to unique and provocative predictions about people’s behaviors and personality traits.”
Admittedly, this is all still a pretty out there idea, and it’s possible this metaphors hypothesis is no closer to the truth than my ancient fruit foraging proposal. But there is some good news – it’s actually possible to test this hypothesis further. The researchers point out that these results are specific to English, in which “sweetness” has very clear meanings in terms of both taste and disposition. [Read More]
Then what in the HECATE does it mean…
If you are drawn to decidedly bloodier fare?
[via The Globe and Mail] Rob Gentile, the chef at Buca, an ambitious Italian restaurant in downtown Toronto, had a problem. Everything he knew and believed about cooking told him that he shouldn’t waste a single edible bit of the whole hogs he brought into his kitchen, and so he’d demanded that his pig supplier send along the blood with Buca’s weekly order. But Mr. Gentile tried making crêpes with it, and they didn’t taste interesting enough, he said. He made sausage with it, and those didn’t grab him either. The blood was piling up.
Then, last March, Giuseppe Marchesini, Buca’s manager and sommelier, called his mother in Basilicata, who called her mother, who passed along her recipe for torta di sanguinaccio, a traditional southern Italian pastry commonly eaten in the run-up to Lent. The result is a showstopper of a dish. It combines fresh figs steeped in grappa and espresso with satiny buffalo-milk crème anglaise, chopped, candied almonds – and at its base, a dense, decadent (and not-at-all bloody tasting) dream of a custard that’s made from a mix of dark chocolate and slow-tempered blood.
“At first, with the blood tart, people were shocked,” Mr. Gentile said. “They thought we were crazy.” Now they can’t seem to get enough. When Mr. Gentile briefly took it off the menu earlier this summer (it’s not exactly a hot-weather dish), his customers complained. Mr. Gentile has also added a dish called spaghetti al nero di maiale, for which he tosses blood-blackened noodles with rapini, crumbled ’nduja sausage, garlic and burrata cheese. That pasta is almost indecently good.
Though Mr. Gentile’s intention wasn’t to jump on a trend, those two creations are part of a wave of not-your-usual blood dishes turning up on influential menus in Canada and the United States.
At the Black Hoof in Toronto, chef Brandon Olsen recently debuted a savoury blood custard flavoured with rosemary and topped with pickled pears. Every week, he buys 16 litres of fresh blood from his butcher and freezes it in one-litre batches.
Does Mr. Olsen get squeamish at all? “I enjoy blood,” he answered. “I think blood is a great vessel for culinary expression. When I look at The Learning Channel, at all those surgery shows, that’s when I get squeamish. But working with animals, no.”
At DNA restaurant, a cutting-edge kitchen in Old Montreal, chef Derek Dammann serves panna cotta made from cream, cocoa, black pepper, lemon peel and pig’s blood. He sometimes does blood soup, and blood pasta, too.Chris Cosentino, the star chef at Incanto, an offal-focused restaurant in San Francisco, does a chocolate blood pudding garnished with Bing cherries. Other U.S. chefs use it to enrich dark Swedish rye bread or Finnish blood pancakes, which are called blodplättar, and are typically served with preserved lingonberries.
Just yesterday, Rene Redzepi, the chef at Copenhagen’s Noma, which is arguably the best restaurant in the world, posted photos showing cauliflower and other vegetables marinating in pig’s blood.
At Cook It Raw, a symposium of many of the world’s most innovative chefs in Lapland last year – the sort of clubby, invitation-only event that most chefs can only read about with awe (Mr. Redzepi is a fixture at the annual event) – one team presented a dish of cappelletti pasta stuffed with reindeer blood. And Food Arts, an industry-focused culinary magazine, made a long essay about blood the cover story of its July/August issue (the cover photo, unfortunately, looked more like an outtake from CSI Miami than your usual food porn).
There’s a very good chance, in other words, that your dinner is about to get bloody. [Read More]
Yes, just process what that could mean for a second.
Pretty darn disturbing, isn’t it?
And just so we’re clear?
I blame Twilight for the new ‘blood as food’ upcoming fad, thanks for what it deems as acceptable behavior.