| Part One was back here
Here is Part Two:
iv. [smell] — chemistry lesson
From jitterbug perfume by tom robbins:
The powerful “odour-memory-emotional recall” connection is called the Proust effect from his description “that sweet aroma released the vast structure of recollection”; a Scientific American study paraphrased this as “scent evokes a powerful and visceral remembrance, a rare experience of simultaneity”. Women generally have a much stronger sense of smell than men, though sensitivity varies throughout the menstrual cycle; the leading hypothesis is that this conveys selective procreation advantage as women sense and select as mates men whose antibodies (which emit distinctive smells) complement their own.
v. [taste] — guess
when i woke up i was blindfolded, and tied, déshabillé , with silk scarves, to the corners of the four-poster.
here’s number one. stop laughing and open your mouth.
oh, wow… mmmmm!
uh, uh… no flattery…and that’s not a description. behave. describe the flavour.
salty. sweet. floral. i can’t separate the taste from the smell.
you obviously need a lot of practice. that’s ok. we have lots of time. all day. go on…
mostly salty, like sweat. a bit sweet, like milk. the floral would break down into 30% sweet, 30% sour, 40% bitter, lovely.
good. number two. ready?
ah, exquisite. [thoughtfully] 80% sour, 20% sweet. fruity. a perfect minor chord. i wonder why sour flavours make us drool?
[slapping me] fruity is not one of the four tastes, and aural references are not allowed, it’s a terrible analogy anyway. you can’t compare a combination of flavours to a combination of sounds. and you were doing so well, too! try again.
the japanese claim there is a fifth taste, savory, though the taste buds that would support that theory haven’t been found yet. you know what taste buds look like, don’t you. they’re voluptuous, obscene. and they just open up and taste everything indiscriminately. miniature flavour nymphos, spreading for every molecule that comes along. sense sluts. i suspect youres are especially bad, utterly shameless. here’s number three.
[long, lingering, smacking interlude] hmm. that’s not fair. that’s the gustatory equivalent of looking in the mirror, or listening to your ears ring. but i can tell you’ve been sampling some of taste number two. clear your palate and give me another taste. [another lingering, smacking interlude, even longer than the first. i wanted it to go on forever]. okay. a subdued balance of all four tastes. sweet and bitter like the floral of number one. you had chamomile tea with honey this morning, right? and sour from your sampling of taste number two and salty from… hmmm… [i blushed a little, then smiled]. damn i’m good at this!
pretty smug, aren’t we. here’s number four. and i want you to be very specific. i’m going to cover your nose at first, to see whether the olfactory senses get in the way of your taste perception. ready?
bitter, bitter, and a trace sour. no salt, very little sweetness. a beaujolais perhaps.
not bad. now try with your nose uncovered.
wow, that does change everything. much more information. not a beaujolais. maybe a merlot?
keep your day job. chardonnay. without the colour cues you’re hopeless. here’s number five. did you know that most human poisons are bitter, and that scientists think we’re programmed to automatically retch at bitter flavours, which is why they put those taste buds closest to the gag reflex point?
mmm. no retching at that flavour! all four tastes, almost in equal balance. no wonder they call it nature’s perfect food. swiss?
lucky guess. here’s number six.
mmph…ahh, delicious. let me guess. champagne. yogurt. hey, you’re covering my nose again!
shush… you’ll need to taste this very slowly and carefully to be able to identify the combination of tastes precisely. in fact the taste may change, so take your time, might need a couple of hours to keep tasting and think about it…
[laughing] i see what you mean. the taste is vaguely familiar. mmph…
shut up and keep tasting…mmm…
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