Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Five Basic Senses

The 5 traditionally recognized methods of perception or sense are:

Our “Senses” allow us to learn...to protect ourselves...to enjoy the world. 
Can you imagine what is might be like...to live your life
without any of the five Senses? 
This traditional model is credited to Aristotle. 


Our Sense of Taste comes from the taste buds on our tongue.  These buds are called  papillae. But the Sense of Smell also affects our Taste.  The tongue is only able to Taste only 4 separate flavours:  salty, sweet, sour and bitter.  A combination of sweet and salty could be your favourite candy;  a combination of sweet and bitter could be the chips in your chocolate chip cookies. Everything you Taste is one or more combinations of the 4 flavours.  Not only can your tongue Taste, but it also picks up texture and temperature  in your food like...creamy, crunchy, hot, icy cold or dry. (Think of the carrot.)
Did you know that butterflies taste with their teeth?

“Eat Your Asparagus”

When young, living on a farm, my mother grew asparagus.  Today, I love this vegetable laying on my dinner plate with roast beef and scalloped potatoes...so delicious!  As a 3 or 4-year-old, asparagus was GROSS!  Urging my sister and me to eat this vegetable, she cut each spear into pea-size bits and did a good camouflage job with them in creamed casseroles or  mixed with other finely diced vegetables. Her ultimate gain each summer/fall was to use the asparagus plants' leafy fronds as display beds for her colourful flower sprays of dahlias, gladioli, larkspur and roses.  These flower arrangements she used as gifts...as competition entries at local fall fairs...and for grave decorations on Cemetery Day. Before winter she cut down the plants...and “Lo and Behold”  camo-asparagus again on the plate in late spring!

(European plant cultivated as a food for its large thistle-like flower heads)

The last night in Paris, France after a long summer tour of Europe, we dined at a gourmet-type bistro. In the wooden booth across from us was a couple eating such a strange food.  Mesmerized by this large green thistle-like food, I wondered just what it was. Leaf by leaf (which looked like tulip petals).the guy and his gal gently pulled off individual leaves,  dipped the end of each in a sauce, then with their teeth, nibbled the soft end, discarding the remainder of leaf on a separate plate. Conversing, they continued to savour this unique appetizer until they reached the Heart. Small sharp knives very carefully removed the “choke” part to then reveal the prized portion of this vegetable. Our waiter informed us that the couple had ordered Artichokes...a delicacy to be enjoyed by the diners. Before departing the bistro, he instructed us to prepare Artichokes as a succulent appetizer.

Several months later, grocery shopping in Fortino's, was a display of artichokes. WOW!  I bought four and happily looked forward to serving to my dinner guests Sunday evening, this Parisian appetizer!
Surprisingly, when visiting my son in California, and exploring the coastal highway #1, I viewed fields of artichokes near the Watsonville Market Gardening area.  Artichoke Hut was a retail landmark where one could purchase these “thistle-like-flower-heads”.

Cold Beer

I dislike Beer!  It was distasteful until.........! A few years ago, I spent a cold, frigid ski week at Grey Rocks in Quebec with a personal friend and my son.  We were placed in different instruction classes based on our ski-prowess. Due to my goggles fogging and inability to see the terrain correctly, I fell several times.  An American in my class had sympathy for my tumbles.  At the end of the day, he invited me to the bar where skiers would all unwind...remove boots, jackets, hats and mitts...listen to the local entertaining band beside a roaring fireplace...and drink Ice-Cold-Beer!!!  It was deliciously refreshing. Next morning, he purchased new goggles for me at the Ski Shop....and “whoopee” I could study the terrain with no tumbles.  For the remainder of the week, the apres-ski-hours bar was our meeting place with Cold Refreshing Beer.  At  home the following summer, I discovered that after a tennis game workout, that bottle of Cold Beer was a given!

Weird Foods:  I’ve heard of locusts and insects chocolate coated.  Fried tarantulas don’t appeal, nor does snake wine from south east Asia (showing the snake in the bottle!).  YUK!  Must confess that many years ago, with a friend in Sudbury (or perhaps it was North Bay), we ordered “Frog Legs” from the menu …something we just must try…really tasted like breaded seafood!

Watch for my next posting on Senses...SIGHT.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written June 24, 2014
I welcome your comments...e-mail to:


  1. SHERRIE WRITES: "What a joyous read on the first Sense of Taste! You made me feel as I was in school again with a brilliant teacher, teaching me for the first time about our precious 'taste buds'. You always make the world come alive for us through your most gracious blog about life. You have made me think about breakfast, lunch & dinner and all in between...the luxuries we all have in life. Right down to 'tasting' the rain as it falls gently on our tongues and salt on our bodies ~ all great and sensual pleasures in life. Senses are truly of the Sensual."

  2. Wonderfully written, Sherrie! Thank you for the inspiration given me to write on this topic! Love your suggestion of "tasting the rain"...could even be the snowflakes in winter...perhaps the taste of wild berries as we see them ripened on bushes and vines.