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Sep 24, 2011 01:17 AM

Is there a term for this?...

Kinda hard to describe but its a feeling of "intensity" when you put that first bite of food in your mouth. I first noticed it when I'd pop that first table grape in my mouth and always attributed it to the sugar as it was usually something sweet. But now I'm getting that same reaction from cheeses. Its not an unpleasant feeling at just kinda makes me almost freeze up for a second and almost make a "face" if you will. I don't recall experiencing it at all when I was young.

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  1. At the risk of appearing rude: foodgasm?

    Sincerely, I've never heard a word for it but yes, many foods have an initial HEY I'M PUNGENT/TART/SWEET/FISHY/HOT but after a while you get acclimated and it's all good. I have the same feeling with smoked salmon. Overly fishy at first then delectable goodness.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Aabacus

      Hey Aabacus & WWFeldman: are either of you "super tasters?"
      I know I'm not, per se, but when i have something truly delicious, I KNOW it...

      Usually it is for savory dishes- I had some really intensely flavored Tikka Masala with lamb this weekend- but I know wines and coffee can trigger a "Hold on a minute, I'm tasting" sensation.

      1. re: lunchbox

        I don't think I'm a super taster. I'm in the "cilantro tastes like soap" minority though.

        I think you hit a great point! "Hold on a minute, I'm tasting..." Perfect description. Normally I can pick out the layers of flavour but I don't have enough broad experience to identify spices by name sometimes.

        I know what WWFeldman is saying but it is a difficult experience to describe. I find that it happens more when I'm really really looking forward to a bite of something. I had some fois gras a few months ago that I'd have slain a small country for it was so flawless. It had that freeze you in place flavor.

        1. re: lunchbox

          Like Aabacus I doubt I'm a "super-taster" and I'm not so sure I even buy into the concept. Interesting that I'm also in the "cilantro tastes like soap" category, although I'm learning to taste the brightness in small doses. I'm not a "picky", but a very adventurous eater.

          The thing I find curious is that I never experienced this when I was younger (<40). Now that I'm pushing 50, I'm getting it quite a bit more often, and with more and different flavors.

          1. re: WWFeldman

            I was in the cilantro tastes like soap camp until I started ramping up the heat in some foods and then could appreciate its cooling effect. Nevertheless, super-tasters do exist. A friend and co-worker is one and it can be a pain in the butt. She swears she can smell the differences in sex of pork when it is cooking and finds male pork meat unpalatable and stinky. Super-tasters are often super-smellers too. At times it seems like she is beyond neurotic

            1. re: Candy

              I think neurotic is exactly the right word. As you or I taste something and don't like it we get pissed off cuz we feel like we're missing out on something. I should go on a bit more I suppose, but I'm just trying to maintain a post. Super-taster vs. Neurotic=Neurotic. Until your friend goes on Top Chef and does a blind taste to verify the sex of a pig, then I'll believe it.

              1. re: WWFeldman

                Nope,there seems to be a physical basis for it -- supertasters really do have a higher density of fungiform papillae (erm, tastebuds) than the rest of us.

                Obviously, there are plenty of neurotic people who *swear* they are supertasters, and supertasters who are undeniably neurotic, but the condition itself has a clinically verifiable characteristic.

        2. re: Aabacus


          I like that term, and may borrow it. Do I send the $ to you, or to your literary agent?

          Sounds good to me.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              LOL! Perfectly fine to keep all proceeds yourself as long as they are used to create additional foodgasmic opportunities.

          1. I sometimes get a puckering sensation that's extremely unpleasant, for me it's certainly not a 'foodgasm'; It only happens with certain foods and I end up tucking my head way down into my shoulders and shudder. Always wondered what that's about since the foods are not necessarily sour.

            3 Replies
            1. re: lilgi

              You don't get a similar but more positive reaction with foods that you like?

              1. re: WWFeldman

                It ONLY happens with foods that I enjoy, and it's painful right around the ears (why I tuck in my head). I have to wait till the sensation goes away before I can start savoring, and I never know when it's going to happen ;)

                1. re: lilgi

                  Welcome to the club I guess. Sounds like you get it to the extreme.

            2. We can't be the only ones to feel this, but I'm at a loss on what to search for. Foodgasm just returned me to this post.

              6 Replies
              1. re: WWFeldman

                How I experience it is as if my sleeping salivary glands have suddenly awoken for the groan of a motor when it's first started after sitting idle for a while. It feels like a twinge or an ache as if the food is sour but it isn't necessarily sour or acidic.

                And the name for this sensation is apt....ready?..............................................."First Bite Syndrome"

                1. re: seamunky

                  I always assumed that this intense twinge in the salivary glands was what most people called "mmm mouthwatering" and could never understad how that was supposed to be a good thing! But having had mumps, any sort of weird feeling in the salivary glands is not associated with fun times. Interesting reading anyway, seamunky :)

                2. re: WWFeldman

                  Head Neck. 2002; 24(11):996-9 (ISSN: 1043-3074)
                  Chiu AG; Cohen JI; Burningham AR; Andersen PE; Davidson BJ
                  Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital, 3800 Reservoir Rd, NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA.

                  INTRODUCTION: First bite syndrome (FBS) is the development of pain in the parotid region after the first bite of each meal and can be seen after surgery of the parapharyngeal space. The cause is not clear but has been proposed to involve a loss of sympathetic nerve function to the parotid, causing a denervation supersensitivity of salivary gland myoepithelial cells. The purpose of this study was to review the records of 12 patients with FBS to determine any common features of the operations performed that would support this theory of parotid "sympathectomy" as an etiologic factor of FBS. METHODS: Retrospective review of 12 patients with FBS managed at two tertiary care centers. RESULTS: Twelve patients were diagnosed with FBS after surgery involving the parapharyngeal space. All patients had most of their parotid gland preserved. Six patients exhibited a postoperative Horner's syndrome, suggesting sympathetic chain interruption. The six patients without Horner's syndrome were found to have undergone external carotid artery ligation inferior to the parotid gland, suggesting an interruption of sympathetic innervation to the parotid gland itself. CONCLUSIONS: Preservation of parotid gland tissue and a loss of its sympathetic nerve supply, whether by disruption of the cervical sympathetic chain as evidenced by a Horner's syndrome or more selective denervation by ligation of the external carotid artery with its accompanying sympathetic nerve plexus, were common features of all patients. This series supports the concept of parotid "sympathectomy" as an etiologic factor in FBS.

                  1. re: seamunky

                    The question is finally answered. Thanks for posting this :)

                    1. re: seamunky

                      FBS! Awesome. I, too, have been experiencing (occasionally) something similar as I have become older. It is ...almost...pain, but not quite (getting-a-tattoo, almost exquisite, pain) Sometimes intense, sometimes just a momentary blip of sensation...the first time I recall it happening I almost drove off the road. I put a piece of sushi (not even very good sushi) with a smear of wasabi into my mouth and everything went, literally, quite blank. My eyes just seemed to quit working, my neck up around my ears gave a sort of cramp, and then I saw, actually, SAW, flashes of bright color before my eyes. Quite alarming at sixty miles per hour on highway 44, but kind of fun the rest of the time. At the time, I attributed it to the wasabi, but it has happened since with things that were not particularly hot or spicy... I do it more with things that are spicy or very sweet, but not exclusively (most recently it was my first bite of a really good olive salad).

                      1. re: seamunky

                        That's interesting. As a kid (age 5) I went through a windshield in a traffic accident and had to have minor plastic surgery to my face and indeed to my tongue. I'm quite a handsome fellow now as I've had 45 years for the scars to heal, but good to know. Thank you. I'll do a little research on "parotid gland ".

                      1. I can't improve on "foodgasm," and I certainly can't contribute more information on FBS, but might I contribute that the best visual representation of this phenomenon was the Simpsons episode The Food Wife, when Marge's taste buds literally danced after her first taste of Ethiopian food.