The truth is in the buds.

Don’t tell N, but I brought 6 Oreo’s into bed with me.

I was eating the first of the six Oreo’s when I closed  my eyes and suddenly realized that what I expected to taste: chocolate and cream wasn’t tasting like chocolate or cream at all.

In fact wasn’t taking good at all. So I placed a second whole  Oreo in my mouth and wondered: does chocolate really taste as good as we have been conditioned to think it does?

It’s supposed to be better than sex…supposedly most women prefer it to sex. Poor things…anyway, it’s usually less messy, it’s oral, it satisfies a craving, it releases endorphins, and you can enjoy it in public without any dirty looks, unauthorized picture taking/videoing or risked forced community service.

My slavery to chocolate has been documented over the years and more recently widely conveyed to the world at large given that by month 5 of this pregnancy, rumour had it the baby would look more like a Toblerone triangle than a baby and be known as Ferrera, Tella (as in Nutella), Kit, Kat, Toble, or Hazel (again as in the ever yummy nutella spread).

So it comes as no surprise that when we spent part of the holiday season visiting family in Northern California and enjoyed a few days in San Fransisco, a visit to the Ghirardelli chocolate shop was mandatory and that this and the trolley ride cemented our girls as fully fledged members of our SF love club.

A brief – and relevant – side bar about our trip: on our first day exploring the city we went to obligatory fisherman’s wharf, saw the sea lions, rode the carousel, watched a mediocre magic show and ate clam chowder out of a bread bowl. It was on our second day that we went to Ghirardelli Square, ate more than our share each of  milk chocolate caramel square samples, bought chocolate for the car ride, the plane ride, some just because I need more chocolate now, and some to give away (which became the I didn’t eat them, the baby did. I was used…merely a tool stash of chocolate).

Loaded up with melt in your mouth chocolaty goodness, we hopped onto the trolley for a ride through the city and wound up at {name of mall} …. where we descended to the most phenomenal food court ever in a desperate attempt to counteract the sugary crashes that were making the girls unbearable and both us crazy.

F—ing chocolate.

Here’s the point: after a healthful vegan meal all four of us were spoon-swording in self-serving efforts to get the most gelato into our mouths (hubby brought us a huge bowl of chocolate, praline, and strawberry gelato) when some of N’s strawberry gelato blended with my chocolate.  Suddenly every sensory receptor in my mouth and brain realized that I liked the taste of strawberry more than the chocolate (which was stupendous, actually, but I wonder if it really tasted like I have been trained over the years to think chocolate tastes).

More to the point: sitting here now, admittedly saddened by my total lack of enjoyment of the aforementioned 6 Oreo’s (don’t tell me you assumed I didn’t keep eating them?) I wonder how many foods there are that we think we know the taste of but actually don’t, and how many we think we like yet if we stopped buying into the conventional wisdom that some flavours are universally good we’d discover that there is probably just a very well honed, well funded chocolate lobbying organization.

When you drink hot chocolate, does it actually taste hot chocolatey or are you telling yourself it does? What other foods taste nothing like what you think they taste if you eat them with your eyes closed? I’ve always thought that ketcup chips taste more like licking a nickle than ketchup. I find that raw zucchini doesn’t taste like anything at all,and while when cooked taste delicious and mild,  if you offered me a zucchini cookie I’d look at you funny.

My 4 yr old, N, often hesitates to try something new and then just about every time she tries it says, “actually, I like it”. Evidence that how we perceive something will taste influences what we actually taste more than the flavour itself.

And on a side – but again, related note – “white linen” room spray….it doesn’t actually smell like white linen anything. It smells like detergent. You can put any colour linen in the wash and wind up with the same scent, but we all accept that yup, that smell is “white linen”. A whole other post just might be crowning here….

A.

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