Monday Maybes: Taste Your Words

22 Nov

9:05 am, Monday, 22 November, 2010 – Atlanta

On Friday we started our work on imagery with smell, so I hope you had a lovely weekend scenting and trying to capture scents in words. Not easy, but here’s a harder one: taste.

toast and coffe

A great deal of what you taste is a matter of smell. Try eating something when you have a cold or when you are holding your nose. You will find that what you eat seems almost tasteless, simply because you cannot smell it. Since we can only taste four different true tastes (sour, sweet, salty, bitter), it is smell that lets us experience the complex, mouth watering flavours we associate with our favourite foods. Wine and food experts cannot work if they have colds. Their sense of smell is more highly developed, thus they can taste. Have you ever listened to a wine person talking about the taste of chocolate, with a hint of tobacco and an aftertaste of blackberry, and all you taste is red wine? Their taste receptors can distinguish the different shades of taste.

Try the test yourself. Pick something to taste, like a pickle, and holding your nose tight, see what happens.

sweet and sour by Paul

“Savour them in your mouth, try them on your typewriter.” Ray Bradbury

What words do we associate with taste? salty, sweet, sour, bitter, nutty, fruity, spicy, bland…

“What does a pear taste like?”

“Don’t you know?”

“I want to know what it tastes like to you.” Nicholas Cage City of Angels

List your favourite foods. Try for 25.

List your most hated foods. Try for 25.

If you have associations with any of the tastes, jot your recollections for a few minutes. They may lead to something.

Now, list as many tastes as you can think of…no, this time, not food. Haven’t you ever tasted non-food things? Stamps, envelopes, your skin, toothpaste, your pet’s fur, someone’s cheek, medicine, metal…How many non-food things can you come up with?

Again, if your memory associates events, people, stories, jot them down.

Okay, now pick three or four of the items you have listed and describe how they taste WITHOUT mentioning the item.

Now list some of the things that surround you; speculate on and imagine the taste of some of them. Describe how they taste WITHOUT mentioning the item.

Choose one of the items in your lists and expand on it,


connect several together to form a poem you can taste.

I think I salivated through this whole post. All the gorgeous photographs I had to look through.

whole and crushed chili by Paul

Tomorrow: touch.


Posted by on 22/11/2010 in poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Monday Maybes: Taste Your Words

  1. booguloo

    24/11/2010 at 11:40 am

    It caresses the tip

    It caresses the tip
    Rushes in on a musky sweet wave
    Almost like flash flooding creates and behaves
    The cool sensuous flesh soon fills the void
    Shooting cold chills through her Freud
    Pushing forward and up clamping shut
    just in time
    only to lose a couple drops of the sublime
    Melon for you
    Melon for me
    Such aware company

  2. mroby

    24/11/2010 at 12:15 pm

    You don’t waste time! The poem is great fun and clever. I look forward to more of your poems.



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