Sunday, June 23, 2024

Taste vs. Memories

    I think we all have one food that we refuse to eat. This could be spinach, grilled chicken, mushrooms, etc. Sometimes this comes down to picky eating or flavor preference, but sometimes we refuse to eat things due to negative memories that are associated with that food. I remember my best friend gave me a bag of green sweedish fish for Valentine's Day in eighth grade. That same day, I had a terrible case of food poisoning and threw up everything I had eaten during the day. While getting sick, I could not shake the displeasure of the smell and taste of the Swedish fish coming back up. Ever since that day, I have refused to eat them, and even the sight of them makes me nauseous. This idea is called "the science of flavor," and it can be seen through the sense of the brain's hippocampus. A Funky Chunk article states, "The hippocampus is vital to a person’s memory, particularly long-term ones. A flavor can also connect with parts of the brain tied to emotion and smell. In other words, we are biologically wired to form strong memories around food," (Malicdem). The brain can associate memories positively, too. I love chicken marsala--it was the first meal my boyfriend and I ate on our first date a few years ago. Whenever I eat chicken marsala I am reminded of how happy and excited I was on that date, and how much I love my boyfriend. The brain is a powerful tool, one that can create emotions and desires we don't know the root of. 


The Science of Flavor: How Food Creates Memories. (n.d.). Funky Chunky.


  1. The complex relationship between our memories, emotions, and senses is wonderfully captured in your reflection. The link between taste and smell and long-term memories and emotions can be helped by the hippocampus, as demonstrated by your dislike of green Swedish fish because of a bad event in the past. This incidents, also called "the science of flavor," demonstrates how the brain may form enduring aversions to particular foods by forging strong negative associations with them. Alternatively, the happy thoughts of a memorable first date that are linked to chicken marsala show how tastes may arouse happiness and affection, highlighting the significant influence our brain has over our dietary choices and emotional reactions. This highlights the significant impact that sensory experiences have on our life, influencing our preferences, dislikes, and even interpersonal connections.

  2. This was so beautifully written!
    I think this connection between food and memories is why I love cooking (& eating) so many authentic dishes. Every time I get the recipes close to perfect, I am brought back to a fond memory watching my older great aunts and grandmother making those exact foods. I never realized that my brain remembers the joy just as much as my belly!
    Thank you for sharing this!

    - Luci