Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium

“Taste for Life”: An exemplary case for interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists and practitioners on taste-research and communication 

By Mikael Schneider, Anette Kamuk, Karen Wistoft, Michael Bom Frøst, Annemarie Olsen, Liselotte Hedegaard, and Ole G Mouritsen. “Taste for Life”, a non-profit research and communication centre funded by Nordea-fonden, Denmark. 

Taste is such an integrated part of everyday life that most people have very little conscious recognition about the complexity of taste as a concept. Nonetheless, we all use our taste and make our own experience with it every day throughout life.

Taste (or tasting) is something we do, when we eat; but it is also something in the food. Taste is a sense; but we use all senses to do it. Taste happens in the brain; but we also share it. Taste develops between us; but is also a defining part of our culture.

As such, taste is a unique tool to analyze and understand the world, and therefore offers a powerful platform for research, teaching and learning. In Taste for Life, we explore new interdisciplinary ways of learning through and about taste across practices on taste.

While teaching pupils, students and the broader public in educational institutions and festivals through and about taste, it is possible to study their use of taste, taste preferences, and learning processes by gathering empirical data for anthropological, sensory and pedagogical research. As an example, one of our projects studies the senses as facilitator in breaking through disgust barriers, by teaching school children about fish through both arts (gyotaku), science and cooking – and doing quantitative and qualitative studies of the children’s learning and changes in taste preferences.

We engage scholars and researchers from the humanities (pedagogical and didactical scientists), natural sciences (sensory scientists and gastrophysicists), and social sciences (anthropologists, media and cultural scientists) as well as educators, chefs and food innovators. By collaboratively integrating research, taste, learning, didactics and communication, we generate new knowledge on taste in three main areas: sensory sciences and didactics; gastrophysics and interdisciplinarity; and innovation and honing of culinary skills. The paper will present knowledge production from these three domains.