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taste flashbacks

Does anyone know what I mean? I get these. They're not the same thing as cravings. It's like the flavor of something I haven't tasted in awhile will suddenly, apropos of nothing, flash through my head/across my mental tastebuds. I can be walking down the street minding my own business when suddenly & strongly, whoa, pot roast or jelly doughnut. It tends to happen more with proteins and sugars than with veggies or grains, which makes me think it's more evolutionary than personal.

Am I making any sense?

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  1. yes. i actually coined a term for this:

    "phantom flavors."

    1. Yes and I believe it is a neurological phenomenon (i.e., there is a physiological cause in the wiring of your brain). At least this is what a neurologist acquaintance told me. He also said that some people will, under times of stress, smell a certain smell that they may have associated with something in their childhood, like a certain food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: farmersdaughter

        There's a medical term for this but I can't remember it. My sister gets this before she gets a major migraine! She says she tastes everything but citrus in particular. Not to scare you, but if it becomes more intense, you may want to talk to your doctor. But I have had them from time to time.

        1. re: southernitalian

          olfactory hallucinations are potentially indicative of more serious health issues. see these articles:

      2. oddly enough i get these for jello.... go figure

        1. I get it for the hard sour cherry candy no longer available (Crown?) I think it is triggered by something that blooms in the spring, but I can taste the exact flavor in my head for a moment.

          1. It sounds like it might be a form of synesthesia. I'm not a neurologist, and don't even play one on TV, so you might want to wiki it. I'm assuming these aren't actual odors that trigger the taste sensation, but something is triggering the taste sensation that doesn't seem to have anything to do with it? Like, you saw a brown dog and now you taste canned peaches? Or you were thinking it might rain, and now you've got the taste of succotash? That sort of thing?


            1 Reply
            1. re: comestina

              Cool, you guys! I knew I couldn't be alone. Yes, farmersdaughter/comestina: my sweetie has a seizure disorder, and he tells me that some people who have seizures also have auras beforehand—every time they'll smell the same smell, hear the same sound, or have the same memory. It seems similar (if less traumatic).

            2. Funny...just last week I had one of these for ginger ale. i could almost feel the acid on my tongue....lol

              1. You're making perfect sense. I get these too; I won't be craving any one food or even necessarily thinking about food, but occasionally I'll suddenly 'taste' something and flashback to whatever that taste is.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bootsandscoots

                  When I was pregnant, I had lots of "olfactory hallucinations," but no phantom flavors.

                2. Yes, this happens to me often- sometimes the "taste" is so fleeting I can't even identify it- especially if I'm engaged in something else. Drives me batty sometimes, because even that brief flavor memory is so appealing that I get frustrated that I can't put my finger on it (and thereby satisfy that urge).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                    Yeah, I can't always identify it either! Funny. You want it to come back just so you can articulate it.

                  2. It's called Deja Food

                    1. ok.. some of the medical comments are scaring me.

                      I get these ALL the time. Sometimes they are flavors or smells, and sometimes they are textures. I have exploited this attribute (I see it as a positive). I use it everyday in my profession as a sommelier. Memory recall of flavors—smells and textures are key to my success and my clientele's success. I can remember like it was yesterday some wines I tasted 10 years ago. The more I focus on something the better chance I have at recalling it later.

                      My memory of flavors applies to food (and specific food and wine pairings) as well. Sometimes it the perfect texture of a chewy brownie that has a slight crust to the outside that can drive me insane for days until I cave into it. It doesn't start out as a craving but something that just appears in my head. I start to obsess over it and then it becomes a craving. (Oh great, now I will be obsessed with that for a few days).

                      On the negative side, the smell and taste of things can also nauseate me. I am a mother and one of the unfortunate things to smell is the "school/pavement/outdoor" smell. I smell that I march my daughter into be changed. It just smells dirty... not fresh... and puts a dour stamp on my mood. It gives me a flashback to my childhood and coming in from recess and feeling the need to wash my hands (no, I am not OCD).

                      And much to my husband's chagrin I can smell on his breath what he ate for lunch. It drives him crazy! I know if he has cheated on his diet.

                      Smell and taste are powerful tools we all have. It is a wonderful thing and gives many of us great memories. I also believe they need to be nurtured. Last month I wrote something on my blog about this subject. Check it out** when you have a moment:

                      Anyway, embrace those flashbacks!! Cheers!