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The Role of Sound in Food

By: Isobel Billington

The influence of sound and music in food

Imagine this. It’s Christmas day, dinner is ready, you take your first bite into your roast potato and there’s no crunch. How disappointing!

Recent research claims that the sound of our food influences the way it tastes. In fact, Charles Spence even won a Nobel Prize for his research into sound and food, which he also focuses on in his book, Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating.

In short, the sound of your food is more important than you think – from the snap of your crisps to the crunch of your roast potatoes.

If you can enhance the sound of the foods you eat, you may even find them even more delicious. 

3 main foods and drinks that are enhanced by sound

3 friends enjoying and laughing about the sound in food

 

1. Crispy nibbles

crispy nibbles or chips on a small plate

Crisps and nibbles are probably the most addictive food, especially before a big meal. It can’t just be Joey from Friends who stuffs himself with crisps before eating a whole turkey to himself, right?!

But other than being totally addictive, have you ever thought about how the sound of crisps enhances their taste?

It turns out that the louder the crunch they make, the more fresh and crispy we perceive them to be. 

Pringles are the perfect example.

Have you noticed that you can’t fit a whole pringle in your mouth? When you bite them in half, you enjoy that crispy crunch at least twice, which makes them just that little bit more appealing. Is it just us or do you feel like buying some Pringles now to test this out?

2. Champagne fizz 

pouring champagne from a bottle into a tray of wine/champagne glasses

Pop, fizzle, bang! Champagne and prosecco are synonymous with celebrations. You wouldn’t believe it, but your ears play a large part in detecting this popping sensation.

After all, we don’t have touch receptors on our teeth. So, the sensation of bubbles moving is really picked up by our sour food receptors, together with the sound of fizzing.

Brands have even capitalised on this audio sensation. Krug launched Krug Sounds, an audio device modeled on a seashell.

It attaches to the top of your champagne glass so you can listen to the exploding sound of bubbles. But let’s be honest, instead of spending a staggering $300 on this, you could just put your ear to the glass.

Who knows, you may enjoy your evening tipple even more than you already do!

3. Crunchy roasties 

crunchy roasted food in a small plate

Just like with crisps, the crunchiness of our roast potatoes is of central importance. There is actually science to show why we associate the sound of this crunch with nutrition and deliciousness.

When your potatoes turn to that golden brown colour, it’s because of something called the Maillard reaction 

in other words, a chemical reaction occurs between the amino acids and reducing sugars that give browned foods like these their distinctive flavour and crunch.

At the same time, we’re naturally attracted to foods with higher fat content. So, the two go hand in hand!

Next time you’re triple cooking your potatoes, you’ll be able to impress your guests with your new knowledge

(as well as your excellent cooking!). 

 

Did you know that the volume of your music affects the taste of your food? 

By turning the music down, you’ll be able to hear the sound of your food with greater clarity, which will help you to enjoy it more.

In fact, there are even restaurants that hold silent dinners so you can really concentrate on your food – just like Dans le Noir but with sound instead of sight. 

On the other hand, if your potatoes weren’t quite up to the crunch, you can simply turn your music up and your guests won’t notice a thing! 

Who knew the volume of your Christmas playlist could affect your dining rating?! 

 

Conclusion

Next time you eat your dinner, whether it be an occasion or just an ordinary day, pay attention to the sounds of your food and you’ll think about taste completely different.

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