taste?

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Where does it go? That last piece, the final molecule of a meal, the rest of which was toothed upon, esophogased, churned and enzymed, ciliated, pancreated, swept along, pushed along, dragged along, floated out. When colorless rays barrel towards it, years later in a doctor’s office, does the molecule feel pangs of regret, or a fear of death, or being attached to this body share in a sudden closeness to its friends and relatives. Is this piece, while it remains, ever inside?

I open the refrigerator door and looks inside. Are these memories? I try to taste a watermelon by looking and remembering, touching and remembering, smelling and remembering, talking and remembering. The actual taste is like none of the above. The same property holds true for milk, salami, chocolate, and beer.

I look at a cactus pear and mime the act of chewing, which for me produces, more than any linguistic description of qualities, a fleeting sense.

Laid down on the floor I look up from underneath a window and reach out two hundred feet. I drag the treetops back and forth across the sky like seaweed. I remember my age.

The mind sends words to the tongue not flavors. If words could be passed on like flavors by the touching of tongues what use would there be for an inside or an outside? A thought’s arrival could be passed on rather than its expression. For don’t thoughts proceed from minds as flavors from food, that is to say the only reliable experience is firsthand?

Think of a banana. How does it taste exactly? Banana seems to be the question and the answer. Imagine explaining the taste of a banana in a language you did not speak. Imagine then explaining it then in your native tongue. Would the two problems actually be so different?

Is there never talk of something being convincing to the palate, no gustatory illusions? For example, say you have never tasted a mango before and someone puts on your tongue the exact chemical equivalent of the taste of a mango. Later if you were to taste a mango you would not say “this is mango flavor” you would say “this tastes exactly like that chemical.” More likely this happens in the opposite fashion but the point is that taste is more a language of nouns than of adjectives. In tasting the instinctive project of naming advances to resume.

 

 

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