The idea came to me when I watched The New York Times video clip below about food rituals. Just watch the video and read the accompanying article by Catherine St Louis, Rituals Make Our Food More Flavorful to get acquainted with idea. If you want to fully understand everything on the video, you can read the transcript below.
Now before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet your friends and you can work out vocabulary difficulties beforehand.
Do you have any food rituals or know anyone who has?
Do you agree with the idea that rituals make our food tastier?
If you were a food, what food would you be? Why?
Were there any foods you particularly loved or hated as a child? Do you still love/hate them?
What kind of food or drink would you associate with the following situations? Why?
being in love - waiting at an airport - rainy days - summer - your grandmother’s house
How do you feel about slow food (also called 'free range food' or 'organic food' or 'biodiversity food')?
How do you feel about 'fast food' and 'ready-made food' (or processed/convenience food)?
What's your take on the controversy between 'sustainable organic farming' versus 'industrial agriculture'?
What do you think about the following?
- Healthy drinks
- Low fat options
- Labelling of ingredients
- Fraud in food
- Traditional cuisine
- Cuisine globalization
- Nouveau cuisine
- Fair trade products
- Local food suppliers
- Danger of food additives and preservatives for health
- Popularity of cooking TV programmes
- Celebrity chefs
- World-famous restaurants
I’m Catherine Saint Louis from The New York Times. My story is about new research about food rituals. Four experiments show that the little things we do before eating our food enhances its flavour and help us savior what we eat and drink.
In this study, participants were asked to knock on a table, take a deep breath before eating a baby carrot. It turned out that those people reported enjoying their baby carrots more than the group that didn’t perform the ritual. Science may just be catching up with what many of us have known for a long time.
These things, or oysters or anything, I don’t necessarily chew them, I just shallow them.
I used to, as a kid, drink milk and soda, I can’t believe I’m telling you this, milk and soda, which was made popular by Laverne, on “Laverne and Shirley”
One milk, one Pepsi.
Half milk, fill it with Coke. But no ice. You have to put the milk first. If you do it any other way, [it] just doesn’t taste the same. It’s like mixing a martini, you know, just throw things into a shaker and shake it up. You know, it has to be done in a certain order sometimes and stirred in a certain way, and if you do it the right way it’s gonna taste better than what it would doing it in the glass. Sometimes it’s a mental perception. It might not always physically make the food taste better, but if you believe it tastes better that way, then it will.
How do you eat your eggs?
I take my fork and I cut it all up and mix it all together.
How long have you done that?
My dad taught me to do that when I was very young and I still do it that way.
I have a…
Not a ritual.
Yes, it is.
It’s a schedule. It’s really more of like a how I eat. The first time I see all the different sauces that I like I have to put them in the top of the sushi container and mix them together with the chopsticks, ok?, and then I deconstruct every single piece of sushi as I eat it, from the top to the bottom.
What about barbecue? Do you eat barbecue?
I love barbecue, but I will not touch it with my fingers.
So how do you eat barbecue?
Knife and fork, and there’s nothing left on the bone when I get done.
Are there any other foods that you eat in a particular way or a particular order?
You know what else Dad you eat bagels like a sandwich.
I plead the fifth amendment on that one.
What do you mean he eats them like a sandwich?
Like when I’m just getting ready. When I eat an egg sandwich I take it apart a hundred per cent, I take the eggs off, the cheese and…
You deconstruct them!
And then I eat each piece of bread separately.
I don’t eat them as halves I eat the whole bagel, with the filling and that way you don’t need…
Wait, wait just second, egg sandwich just when there’s cream cheese on it?
Yes, exactly, then you don’t touch the cream cheese, you’re just touching the bagel
I’m sensing a theme here?
Yes, I have some issues.