Taste, food and pleasure are linked in complex and various ways. Even though taste is necessary, primitive and instinctive, it provides human animals with a sense of enjoyment that stretches well beyond mere survival needs. Taste is a source of refined and premeditated experience, an artificial product influenced by culture and technical aspects. Such pleasures are developed so as to last over time and reward the palate with gratifications that transcend nature’s fulfilment of the need for food. Humans are the only members of the animal world who have transformed the physiological need to eat in a hedonistic and cultural experience, rich in meaning. Taste is a source of nourishment for both body and mind, a cause of both fatigue and delight; it lights up our emotional life, promotes sociability, encourages conversation, and may even lead to addiction. Drawing on a variety of fields of knowledge, the author provides a useful guide for discovering and learning more about taste.
Rosalia Cavalieri teaches Semiotics, as well as Language and Sign Theory, at the University of Messina.