The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.
The taste sense is a connection between the inner and outer world. Because of this maturing individual relationship to the smorgasbord life has to offer, the nine to eleven year old child can become more open to the world. In relationship to food they may open up to new flavours or even reject flavours they have enjoyed all their life.
Along with the development of the taste buds the child may also become aware of new feeling life experiences. The matured taste sense allows us to have a refined individual experience of how we ‘taste’ the world.
Hyper sense of taste
A person with a hyper sense of taste can taste every little difference; they are very discerning. Because of this, they have a strong tendency to choose bland or familiar food, limiting their variety, to go for textures and flavours that do not cause too much change in them and they do not have to expand their feeling life into unknown territories. They tend to separate their foods rather than mix them up. The flavour of something could leave a lasting impression that they cannot overcome, so they withdraw from eating it. Someone or something could ‘leave a bad taste in their mouth’.
However they could also want to eat a lot of a particular food (even if it is strong) because they lose themselves into the experience that they are enjoying. Their social skills and sense of fashion can be immature from the perspective of not being very experimental.
Hypo sense of taste
A person with a hypo sense of taste lacks discernment in what they put in their mouth and the people with whom they socalise. Though some personalities might love food and fashion, the tendency is to be less affected by variances. Some personalities will have a bland fashion sense whereas others will be quiet ‘loud’. Overall their palate is less refined than someone with a hyper sense of taste, which makes it easy to try new things. Stronger flavours and personalities can stimulate the taste buds, which can give them a satisfying experience.
How to harmonise and support the development of the taste sense
Food is more than the nutrient table and differentiation between organic or non-organic. To come to discover a food, even as adults we need to taste without judgment and be able to wonder at the world. Offering food that is full of life helps to experience these greater qualities. Vitality occurs as a result of denaturing a substance other than what already lives in us, and this can indirectly improve our social skills because we have to mix ourself with something other than ourself and bear it. The organ functions in the act of digestion are supported by eating at the same time each day. A child who is tired will be less likely to eat well or be willing to try new things.
Preparing and serving stews can be an opportunity to discern and differentiate through wondering and tasting from a mix of ingredients. Likewise serving a number of separate meal components can also be a useful exercise. When it is understood that the whole family take a portion of each component (as small or large as that may be), the person with a hyper sense of taste is aided to broaden their palate while also having something familiar, and the person with a hypo sense of taste can come to know each food on its own and refine their discernment.
Making the surroundings beautiful and tasteful can help the child develop a healthy taste sense. When eating is a joy and a social occasion into which the whole household contributes the child who is hyper sensitive to taste will learn social tolerance and develop a taste for elements in the kitchen and garden though they are not touching their taste buds. The person with a hypo sense of taste learns about the gift of food and social etiquette.