When it comes to food tastes, we all speak in different tongues.… People inhabit separate taste worlds.
L. Bartoshuk (1980) 1
“Every time I smell her perfume I think of the day we met and all our many days to come.” If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your sense of smell is worth a million.
From a 1995 advertisement
by The Fragrance Foundation 2
You're at a restaurant that serves an enormous buffet dinner and you're starving. Does that mean that you stuff yourself on whatever food is first in line? Probably not. You'll try to choose the best foods from the buffet. This chapter is the first of several to consider how we choose which foods or drinks to consume. In order to make such choices, you have to be able to tell the difference between various foods and drinks. In making these discriminations, you use the senses of taste and smell. In fact, taste and smell are the two senses most involved in eating and drinking. The present chapter will tell you what scientists have learned about how taste and smell work. You may be surprised to learn that not everyone tastes and smells in the same way. It's for this reason that, in the first quotation at the beginning of this chapter, psychologist Linda Bartoshuk states that we “inhabit separate taste worlds.” You may also be surprised to learn about some of the many different ways that taste and smell enrich our daily lives, as expressed so ably by the Fragrance Foundation in the other quotation. We are creatures greatly influenced by what enters our noses and mouths.