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September 21, 2009

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John Whiting

Tony Blake, Heston Blumenthal's scientific adviser, gave an interesting talk recently, "The Illusion of Taste", in which argued convincingly that association and expectation have a great deal of physiological as well as psychological influence over how we respond to flavors. He cited, inter alia, the well known phenomena of the color of ice cream determining what we think the flavor is, and the disappointment in drinking at home the bottle of ouzo that tasted so wonderful on that Greek island. I've heard people say that they could only taste truffles properly when they were in Perigord or Alba.

John Talbott

A story I love to recall and tell was when young Gerry Asher, the UK
born wine guy, came to NYC and was put to work at Sherry Lehman to learn
about Americans' (or wealthy New York Americans) tastes, etc. A woman
of a certain age asked for a wine she'd had while in a fancy place on
Capri overlooking the beach; with a strikingly beautiful young man, with
the sun setting and the waves dancing lightly off the shore. He said
"Of course, Madam," I can get you a case, but alas, it comes without the
strikingly beautiful young man, the sun set or the dancing waves.

John A. Talbott, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry
University of Maryland School of Medicine
701 West Pratt Street, Room 322
Baltimore, MD, 21201 U.S.A.
telephone 410-328-2132
fax 410-328-7096
email jtalbott@psych.umaryland.edu

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John Whiting

How would Chateau Petrus taste if you were drinking it when your wife announced that she was leaving you for another woman?

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