Imagination and evolution of taste
Taste is a complex biological, cultural and even psychological phenomenon. We can trace both significant differences and significant similarities in taste quite easily, if we observe human communities in different regions, countries and continents. For example, it is no surprise that most of us share a passion for sweet taste and might dislike bitter or sour. At different ages, people appreciate a variety of foods and drinks and preferences usually change due to physical and social exposure to a given diet. One thing that remains clear is that our taste constantly evolves, notwithstanding whether we discuss taste as a personal system of preferences or if we analyze it as a social convention of favoured sensory experiences. The evolution of taste is a multidirectional process and its roots can be traced back to biology, geography, cultural and social studies, religion, etc. However, in the current paper we will focus on a less examined perspective which seems to offer a fruitful research direction. How does thinking and creativity influence the evolution of taste? How important is our imagination in the taste formation process? Are we able to create an unprecedented dish or we are obliged to follow certain rules and predispositions in our creative culinary experiments? In order to answer these questions, we will start by looking at imagination itself. We will trace this idea back to Aristotle and Kant to define the essence of this controversial philosophical concept and to specify its function in reasoning. Then we will analyze certain aspects of creativity in taste, in order to observe the evolution of certain culinary tendencies. Last but not least we will focus on the influence of social media and the digital communication. Does digital living today improve the culinary imagination or not? Is the culinary evolution in the XXI century triggered by the social media and ease of access to information online?
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