Eat’s my life
POGI FROM A PARALLEL UNIVERSE - RJ Ledesma (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2016 - 12:00am

Fresh black pepper on strawberries? Grilled pineapple with Tabasco? A peanut butter and onion sandwich?

What strangely delicious food combinations will make you more attractive to the opposite sex and not attracted to the toilet bowl?   Let’s find out from Greg Tucker, a Cambridge-based taste psychologist who travels the world to understand what drives people’s choices and preferences around food.

PHILIPPINE STAR: What exactly is it that you do? And does it require a lot of antacid?

GREG TUCKER: What I do is try and unravel the emotion behind what’s going on (when we choose food). It’s not so much a question of “Do you like it?” but more of “How does it make you feel?”

(Dirty Old Man [DOM] representative: Eating crispy pata makes me feel sexy.)

I’m not surprised.  

In fact, only 17 people have ever liked their first sip of alcohol.  When your body first takes alcohol, it rejects it. But you acquire a taste for alcohol because you want to be part of the group that is having fun. You like how it makes you feel — more grownup and more sophisticated.

(No Girlfriend Since Birth [NGSB] representative: Never really liked alcohol. Even after I took my first swig of Green Cross.)

Having studied the behavioral patterns behind food consumption for over 30 years, research by Knorr validates something I have long suspected: that the food and flavors we choose to eat are a window to our character, our flavor preferences offering a vital insight into our personality.

(NGSB representative: The window to my character is smeared with liver sauce.)

And among the different countries (where research was conducted), the Philippines was the one with the highest ratings and agreement where flavors and personality were linked. So if you like a pretty girl, here’s some advice: pay attention to what she is choosing to eat.

(DOM representative: I want to choose a pretty girl with a craving for isaw.)

(NGSB representative: What a coincidence! I’m also craving for isaw.)

Are there also specific flavors that make you appear more appealing to the opposite sex that don’t require the approval of the Food and Drug Administration?

There are specific (flavor) triggers that you could relate to food in the Philippines.  Think of your tongue as having zones — the front, middle and rear. If you want a flavor that has intimacy and connection — like if you’re sharing food with another person — it should be one that is relaxed, longer, has a smooth curve with just a hint of suspense until it reaches the rear of the mouth.

(DOM representative: Wow, I’m drooling just thinking about what that flavor is. But I’m drooling also because my nurse took out my pustiso.)

Imagine a flavor curve that builds gradually, then pauses before exit. The pause is the moment when your heartbeat and your qi (life force) actually harmonize with the other person you are talking to. It creates a sense of harmony and togetherness. That’s the flavor you want to have if you’re trying to attract a member of the opposite sex.

(DOM representative: I can make my heartbeat harmonize with a member of the opposite sex anytime. I just need to adjust the speed on my pacemaker.)

A great example of that type of food would be things with a vanilla note to it, like some extended meat products that have length and a hint of sweetness. Here’s a tip: if you’re going out with a girl that you like, buy her (and yourself) a vanilla ice cream.

(NGSB representative: Can I just have a date with the vanilla ice cream instead?)

But food choices not only reveal something about you, they also reveal what you learned from your parents when you were growing up. In our research from the Philippines, moms are the biggest influencers of what a person learns about “life”— and special mention goes to Yaya, who hasn’t made an appearance in this column for quite some time — including his or her attitude towards food choices. So the same principle goes for the person that you are attracted to.

(NGSB representative: So if I want to find out what food choices I can make to impress my crush, all I have to do is stalk her mom’s Instagram account to check on all their #foodporn pictures. Got it.)

People are also attracted to others who choose new and daring flavor combinations. In fact, the Philippines is the second highest country where trying out new flavor combinations is found to be as sexy or is an innate statement of attractiveness. If a person is pushing the boundary of new, exciting and interesting flavor combinations, it’s a signal of wanting to try new things in life and meeting new people. 

(NGSB representative: I’m willing to try out new flavor combinations. As long as those combinations go well with banana ketchup.)

And generally, you’re attracted to someone who has a similar flavor preference as yours. So Knorr created a tool called Flavor Profiler to (help you) understand your flavor profile and find someone with the same flavor profile. (That way), you can explore new flavors together that are stimulating and engaging. At the same time, you can also bond with flavors that are safe, reassuring and have a sense of home. The Flavor Profiler is a way for you to tell if you’re harmonizing your reaction to food and gives you a much better chance at forming a relationship.

(DOM representative: I tried out the flavor profiler. They said my results were sent to the NBI for further investigation.)

Are there other tips when it comes to food that will help our NGSB eventually find romance and symmetry? 

The best example of this is the Knorr Flavor Profiler clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwx7NnPQ44U.).  You can feed the other person not only by using their fork but by getting them to eat off your fork as well. The act of eating each other’s food or feeding each other is a fantastically seductive and powerful interaction that is a great way to break down barriers and is also a publicly acceptable act of intimacy.

(NGSB representative: I’ve shared that level of public intimacy before. With my yaya.)

Hey, that’s my yaya.

* * *

Check out your Flavor Profile on myflavor.Knorr.com.

For comments, suggestions or to find out what goes best with Royal Tru-Orange, visit www.rjledesma.com or Ledesma.rj@gmail.com.  Follow @rjled on Twitter and @rjled610 on Instagram.

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