Gopnik on taste

‘The Cardinal sampling the wine’ by Frtiz Wagner

‘None of us can escape the web of competitive, cyclical, counterintuitive, imitative relations that shape the social role of taste. There is no privileged space from which we can look down and say, Your tastes are trends, my tastes are truths. All taste effects depend on contexts. The smell in our nose changes the taste in our mouth, and the length of the line outside the restaurant changes of our view of the taste of the food we’re waiting for, and even how much we’ll spend to eat it. We are what we eat? Probably closer to the truth to say that we eat what we are: the total self we bring to the table shapes the way we choose, and even how we chew. Our morals and our manners together drive our molars.’

Adam Gopnik, The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food, London: Quercus, 2011, 105-106.

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