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May 13, 2011 03:27 AM

Tastebud fatigue? When you have to get someone to taste test for you...

I had no idea how to search for previous threads on this topic, so apologies if this topic has already been covered.

You know how things taste different - kind of better - if someone else cooks them - even if it's the exact same recipe? What if you're the one who always does the cooking?

Do you find that it can be hard to "know" sometimes, objectively, if it's really good, and you have to ask someone to taste it for you?

Something to do with a fresh palate.

It doesn't happen to me all the time - but sometimes I'll have absolutely no idea - is this thing I'm making good, or not?! It's like tastebud fatigue!

Do you ever experience this?
Is there some way to circumvent it?

Or am I just weird?
I hope I'm making sense!

For example, I made up a seafood sauce for pasta tonight. By the time I'd finished with it, it kind of tasted like nothing - just like when you say word over and over again, and it loses its meaning.

I had to wait and see how my partner liked it before knowing whether I had missed the mark or not.

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  1. I think you see chefs do that in the kitchen all the time, too. If I'm alone, sometimes I'll eat something with the opposite taste (eg sweet over salty) but it's not the same as a "fresh" palate. And, if I'm having a glass of wine when I'm cooking, all bets are off.;-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      Thanks for the suggestion - I'll have to try that :)

    2. Not to spark a gender debate, but I have noticed that my palate becomes extremely sensitive for a couple days a month with hormonal changes, and salt particularly begins to taste extra bitter. At those times, I will enlist another palate or two.

      And then other times, you just don't feel like cooking and your tastebuds quit with you...

      1 Reply
      1. re: inaplasticcup

        Hmmm, you might be on to something there. It's amazing, all the things that hormones can influence.

      2. I remember something similar being discussed here before (but I think that thread had to do with feeling 'full' after spending a lot of time over the stove), and someone proposing that smell could be a factor in this, in addition to frequently tasting a dish. I think the point being made in that thread was that being surrounded by the smell of the dish could have an affect on the appetite. I thought that was interesting, and if it is true, it could serve to dim the taste buds a bit, I think.

        And, yes, it happens to me. After awhile, a dish might start to taste muddy, and I have to call my hungry man in the room and turn over the tasting spoon. Which he loves, because he then gets to stand over the stove, making thoughtful faces, and saying things like, "Do I taste tarragon in here?" But if I'm alone, I'll try to duck away to brush my teeth, and then drink a little bit of juice.

        I'll have to try chowser's 'opposite taste' remedy next time.

        3 Replies
        1. re: onceadaylily

          I agree - I think being surrounded by the smell would dim the taste buds. It makes sense.
          Thanks for the idea about brushing teeth, I'll have to try that too.

          1. re: ursy_ten

            Unless you're having something orange/citrus based...

        2. Are you specifically talking about tastebud fatigue that sets in when you're cooking a dish and taste it too many times? Eventually you're not sure if it's good any more.

          My solution to that is to trust your instincts and taste less frequently.

          1 Reply
          1. First of all, Tastebud Fatigue is a very cool name for a food blog-gotta remember that one.
            And yes, absolutely. Sometimes my appetite is completely gone by the time the food is ready...too much tasting along the way...or just bored. :)

            3 Replies
            1. re: HillJ

              I find this, too. And, it never tastes that good to me, as a result. The next day, I can actually taste it again.

              1. re: HillJ

                And the trouble is that then I sit down with the family and have dinner. No wonder I keep growing out of my clothes!

                1. re: ursy_ten

                  Sometimes because I taste so much I'm not hungry anymore and I won't eat dinner because I've already had it! Other times, I'll spit it out and drink water in between. And still get a taster just in case! It doesn't hurt, it makes people think about the food they're eating more.