Ever noticed how using a larger plate can make you pile on larger portions? Well, the eating utensils you are using could be contributing to your food experience, as well. Scientists at the University of Oxford studied how eating implements affect people’s perception of how food tastes, as well as how expensive it is. Crazy, right?
According to researcher Dr. Vanessa Harrar:
“How we experience food is a multisensory experience involving taste, feel of the food in our mouths, aroma, and the feasting of our eyes. Even before we put food into our mouths our brains have made a judgment about it, which affects our overall experience…
“Subtly changing eating implements and tableware can affect how pleasurable, or filling, food appears. So, when serving a dish, one should keep in mind that the color of the food appears different depending on the background on which it is presented (plate or cutlery) and, therefore, tastes different. This may also be used to help control eating patterns such as portion size or how much salt is added to food. Alternatively, people may be able to make better food choices if their ingrained color associations are disrupted by less constant advertising and packaging.”
For example, when participants ate yogurt from a light spoon, the yogurt seems denser and pricier. When foods were eaten from a knife, they seemed saltier.
Now, I personally love using teensy tiny utensils (I have an affinity for things being smaller than they are supposed to; I think it stems from my childhood obsession with dollhouses, which is obviously totally important to this story), so when I get to use them, I enjoy eating noticeably more, as silly as that sounds. It’s fascinating that people’s experiences can change with their eating utensils — when here I thought I was the only weird one — and exciting that science is discovering more and more about the oddities of our brain in relation to diet.