Eating with your mouth open, in addition to being a habit considered impolite, is a nightmare for those who can’t stand to hear other people chewing. But a professor at the University of Oxford in the UK says that the ideal would be to chew food while keeping your mouth open, as this maximizes flavor and gives you more pleasure.
“We’re doing it all wrong,” Charles Spence told The Telegraph. “Parents instill good manners in their children, extolling the virtues of politely chewing with your mouth closed. However, chewing with your mouth open can actually help release more volatile organic compounds, contributing to our sense of smell and general perception.”
The professor, who is an experimental psychologist, is the head of the university’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, where he researches the integration of information across different sensory modalities.
According to him, foods contain volatile organic compounds, such as esters, ketones, terpenoids and aldehydes, which make up the characteristic aromas and flavors of a dish. Open-mouth chewing would cause more aromatics to reach the back of the nose, triggering the olfactory sensory neurons that heighten our eating experience. This technique of letting air into your mouth while tasting is even used in wine and beer tasting.
In addition, he also says that sound is an important factor in the pleasure of eating. “We like noisy foods. Both chips and apples are rated as more enjoyable when the crunching sound is amplified,” he says.
To better hear the crunch of an apple, a potato chip, a carrot stick, a cookie, a crusty bread or a handful of popcorn, we must always abandon our manners and chew with an open mouth.
The professor even goes further and says that eating with your hands is another tip to enhance this gastronomic experience, as touch also plays an important role in how we appreciate what we eat. “Our sense of touch is also vital in our perception of food on the palate,” he says.
Their research shows that feeling food in your hand can change or bring out certain aspects of the tasting experience. “Feeling the smooth, organic texture of an apple’s skin in your hand before biting into it will likely contribute to a greater appreciation of the juicy, sweet crunch from the first bite. As will the feeling of grains of salt sticking to your fingers when eating potato chips.” hands”, he says.