- Describe the four basic tastes
- Identify the flavors in various foods
“Our tastes buds can perceive only four basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. The essence of great cooking is to bring these four tastes into balanced harmony to create deliciousness. It’s that simple – and that difficult. After all, flavor is a function not only of taste, but also of smell, touch, sight, and sound.”
That is the opening paragraph in The Flavor Bible, perhaps the most widely recognized work on flavor and utilized by chefs the world over. So if our aim is to ingrain young minds with a sound foundation for their lifelong relationship with food in order to shape their food choices and impact their health in the long term, wouldn’t that process start with an understanding of flavor?
Flavor is universal, every one of us has an innate ability to experience food. As it is described in The Flavor Bible, flavor is taste, mouthfeel, aroma, and the X Factor of perceptions from the other senses. So it stands to reason that helping Students understand just what flavor is and allowing them to explore a range of flavors will start them on the path to a lifelong love and appreciation for food.
Teach the Teacher
Tools & Materials
- Construction paper
- Popsicle sticks
- Foods for taste test
- Plates and napkins
Introduction (5 minutes)
Begin the lesson by describing the four tastes one by one. Give examples for each taste that Students might already know. Ask the Students to identify other foods that have that same taste.
Activity (20 minutes)
Prepare four paddles for each Student. Paddles can be made using construction paper and popsicle sticks. Use a different color for each taste and label them. Prepare the taste test with a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and basic foods. Present the foods one by one, have the Students taste each, and then ask them to identify the taste by raising the appropriate paddle.
Discussion (10 minutes)
Which taste do you like best? Which of the foods that we tried was your favorite? If you were to combine two tastes, which two do you think would be best?
Assessment (10 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you can identify the different tastes that our mouths can experience?
- Now that you know the four tastes, how many of you think you could describe them to your parents or someone else?
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