Wednesday 28 August, 2013 by Uncle Spike
Is it just me, or are taste-buds somehow not quite as nomadic as we would like them to be?
Now I’m not talking about how they work ‘during’ travelling, no, no, no… that works just fine for most of us; enjoying the local cuisine wherever we travel. What irritates me is how taste-buds seem to have a mind of their own when it comes to the ‘after’ travelling mode, that’s what I’m talking about.
Not clear? Let me try and explain my limited thought pattern here.
I live in Turkey, and I love Turkish cuisine. That’s no big deal, but hold on, I was raised in England. Ok, so that’s also no big deal I hear you say. Sure… so why then do I now so dislike a mug of strong English tea with milk living here in Turkey.
And conversely, I vividly recall from years gone by, after returning to the UK after long holidays in Turkey, drinking Turkish çay (black tea) every day, that even though I took back some Turkish tea and even the local tea glasses with me, it always tasted… well, just ‘wrong’. Soon after, I would always revert back to PG Tips with milk; until my next trip to Turkey.
Here’s another one. We were in Greece last year. It’s just a hop across the water from here, literally just 15 minutes. The culture there is very much ‘everything coffee’, from filter coffee, to cappuccinos, to coffee espresso ice-creams (seriously) and of course, Frappé or Freddo… cold coffees. No problem, we soon forgot all about our Turkish çay and happily became members of the Freddo cappuccino appreciation society. So why then when my wife made a Freddo cappuccino, did her taste-buds shout out “nooooo, your’e not in Greece now my dear!”…?
Other anomalies to consider. Why do burgers taste great in the states, and crap everywhere else? Is always really just a matter of ingredients or recipe differentials or is there some automated GPS fed cultural switch inbuilt within our taste-buds that makes them go into ‘local-mode’ (like a smartphone’s clock)?
I guess I’ll continue to be mystified by this one. Am I alone?