Sweet, salty, savory, sour and bitter.  Tasting or putting things in our mouth, is one way we learn, especially as small children.  As children, our taste buds far outnumber our parents taste buds. A friend of mine shared this with my son when he was little in an effort to encourage him to try things more than once, saying your taste buds are always changing.  He, of course, turned it around on me saying, “well you know I have more taste buds than you do so I might not like as many things.”  I’m happy to report that now at 17 he has expanded his palate and is open to many unfamiliar flavors and tastes.

I’ve been told that various parts of our tongue taste different things and if we can’t smell we might not be able to taste.

I find it interesting as well that we use the term taste to also explain circumstances.  We often say an experience left a bad taste in our mouth.

In India, I often found there was an explosion of taste happening inside of my mouth.  The variety of curries – sweet, spicy, acidic, meat flavor, no meat flavor was amazing.  Things I thought would be cool often were fiery and then I’d be searching for something to cool off with.  Sweets were quite sweet – syrupy even. In some cases, too sweet to eat! I did love the balance of flavors that was available within every meal.

Chai, one of my favorite drinks, was a similar experience!  So many flavors melded into one little cup of liquid. Spicy and sweet combined to make the perfect cup.  The taste itself reminds me of the holidays and how much spicy and sweet is available.  

Are you a traditionalist when it comes to the food you prepare and eat during the holidays?  I am and I’m not. I love to experiment with new foods and tastes during the holidays. When else do you get to cook a big meal and eat all day long?  It’s fun to try different things. I like a themed Christmas meal – Italian, Mexican, Spanish. It’s fun to explore new tastes. But I also love my moms double stuffed potatoes and crown roast.  It isn’t just about the taste but also the memory.

It is an interesting experiment to notice what’s going on in your mouth as you move through your holidays, memories and all.

Here’s one of my favorite chai recipes for your holiday sense of taste.

Chai Recipe

Ingredients:

 These ingredients are for 1 gallon of water.

  • 20 Cloves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 20 green cardamom pods:  Crush and use all of the pod/seeds
  • 11 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1-2 “ slice of fresh ginger peeled and sliced.  (Optional)
  • 1 gallon distilled or purified water

 

Directions:

  1. Bring 1 gallon of water to boil.
  2. Add above ingredients
  3. Cover
  4. Allow to simmer/low boil for 1-2 hours
  5. Turn down heat to warm/low so that the Chai stays warm but is not boiling.
  6. Keep on heat for 1 more hour
  7. I keep the herbs in the liquid and put in frig for 1 day at least.  You can strain at this point.
  8. Strain herbs from liquid and store in glass jars in refrigerator

 

OPTIONS:

  1. Drink cold in the AM to stimulate digestion and tonify the body

 

To add Black tea, milk and sweetener:

  1. Bring desired amount back to a boil on the stove with black tea and milk (soy, almond, cow) added in.  Remove immediately upon first sign of boil.  Add sweetener (honey or agave nectar is best)
  2. Try putting in some vanilla extract or almond extract
  3. To increase hotness/spice change amount of ingredients by adding more black pepper. 

 

Until next week, when we talk about touch.