Children – 0 – 10 Years Old Infants have 3 times as many taste buds as an adult. And these taste buds are spread throughout their entire mouth (not just the tongue)! Sounds like a science fiction monster movie, but it gets weirder. Some people think that babies experience synesthesia (different senses are mixed together). So a baby could taste a sound, or hear a visual color. The horror of Epoisse washed-rind cheese is now in 3D Smell-o-scope cinema!
Oriented Towards: Crave fat and sugar packed milk. “They need more calories in relation to their body weight than at any other time in a person’s life”.
Oriented Away From: Salt and Sour Flavors. Bitter foods are instinctively rejected as poisonous. So anything that is bitter is viciously amplified since babies have more taste buds than adults. Yep, your kid is a baby X- Man but with more drooling.
When your tongue and nose work in tandem, you have the start of a beautiful friendship. And like any relationship, when a person is young and in their twenties and thirties, everything can feel magically rich and delicious
Teenagers – 12 – 18 Years Old (Puberty)
Means massive hormonal surges that lead to more crying and higher cell phone bills.
Oriented Towards: As age progresses, psychology has more of an impact on the biology of food preferences. Teenagers tend to eat more of what they’ve had positive experiences with, and less of what they historically have not. When your kid was younger, bitter green vegetables triggered evolutionary instincts like “Mom is poisoning me.” But then time passed.
You continued to beat the crap out of your child for not eating their vegetables, and psychological conditioning closed their mind off. Processed foods with their focus on blandness create a desert of sensory contrast. This helps to eliminate any delicious distractions from this orientation.
Oriented Away From: Children start to lose their instinctive biological craving for calorie rich options like sugar. However, in the United States this has been abnormally replaced by an addictive craving for sugar (having gotten used to consuming larger then needed amounts). Basically, Willa Wonka was the Walter White (drug dealer) of his confectionary generation.
Young Adult – 18 – 35 Years Old Oriented Towards – Your mouth now has lost two-thirds of it’s sensitivity. Since your palate is not what it used to be, strong pungent flavors like stinky washed rind cheese or fermented fish are not as overwhelming.
Oriented Away From – New Tastes. Now, not only psychology, but your nervous system is against you. Your brain, having eaten particular food and drinks for over 2 decades, has now been programmed to seek these flavors.
Middle Aged Adult – 35 – 60 Years Old Your brain is becoming less and less efficient at retraining itself to like new tastes. People are more instinctive in their choice of traditional foods.
Older Adult – 60 – 95 Years Old Your stomach is smaller, your mouth is drier, and more and more everything tastes like wood.
Immortal – 95+ Years Old Seriously, do whatever the hell you want.
So returning to Brooklyn– at the end of my tour I thank Sam and Benton and leave. Walking outside into the boiling NYC summer day, I see the two surgical cheese assistants taking their lunch break. The two ladies have stripped out of their medical gear and down to a much more comfortable tiny tank top and shorty short shorts. The gender of these attractive women is now excruciatingly clear. As I drive away, I see nearby men suddenly take notice and “randomly” walk their way. I have no doubt that fifty to sixty percent of the neighborhood’s adult population will suddenly become passionate about cheese.