Monday, June 27, 2011

The Flavours of Emotions

But let's break that down, because we don't feel like coming up with all those flavours...
Emotions are complex and there are such a huge range of them beyond the basic six or so. This entry will be hard to write in the way we like to write about such large topics, but if we did it the way we wanted it would mean some research; and let’s be honest – we’re not writing a research paper here.

We were going to post a travel journal that was written by The Other Girl, but we’re having a mostly good day and we didn’t really want to have to think about her too much….it upsets us.

Instead we sent out a call to the Tweeple of Twitter and chose the first topic presented to write about, supplied by @kerrystott (who, apparently, is also a therapist) and suggested we answer the question:
“If emotions were flavours what would they be?”

We think this is probably based on an individual, so we thought about all of our emotions, of which we have tons, all of the time and sometimes as a hurricane effect which are mostly conflicting of each other.

Emotions are something we deal with a lot; they can be very confusing as we can have many at the same time in varying degrees (it causes torment sometimes). One of the things most commonly said about people with our particular mental disorder is that it comes off as being “moody”; for us, and we are sure for others with this disorder, it’s the severe shifting of emotions, of feelings shared among many, that make us feel like we are going mad because we don’t have the same philosophies, the same feelings, the same thoughts sometimes we have no idea how we really feel as a single person, as a single identity. All too often these days we are sharing “head space” (we’ve written about what that’s like in We Answer Follower Questions) and so being aware of each other’s feelings all at once, instead of shifting from one to another is difficult, confusing...a whole lot of descriptors we can't even explain some days...

One of the things we are working on this year is communication with each other (it’s why we are attempting the mapping project [note: that link takes you to another of our blogs]) so that we can be more aware and in control of how we feel and what’s going on, in addition to sharing information with each other – which this blog also serves as, some days. Granted, lately, we’ve been trying to ignore that, and everything else, and have fun – who wants to administer self-therapy when it’s summer? But that can be dangerous and a slippery slope for us, as it was for The Other Girl.

So, while we've sort of bitched about people harping on our drinking, there are those among us who are taking the concerns seriously (while we sip white wine and write this entry *rolls eyes*), because we want to get better, be happier, be productive, write better, produce more paintings…blah, blah blah…

Back to emotions.

Emotions, as defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary are “a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experiences as strong feeling usually directed towards a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioural changes in the body” [source:]

We’re not going to delve too much into emotions, really. We are sadly conscious of the huge range of emotions that we are conflicted with amongst each other most of the time, though mostly we have no idea what they are directed to, which is the most confusing part and causes misery and is usually displayed as frustration and anger. We know some of our angst comes from the occasions when one of us in control of the body and wants us to do things that another of us might not agree with…it occasionally causes a mental meltdown later, and is sometimes damaging to those of us involved; but we deal as only we know how (which, sometimes, admittedly, is not well)

So, if our emotions were flavours. What would they be?
That’s a fun question, if only because we love to talk about food, and flavours are part of food!

If you wanted to break down flavours there are only a few (Culinary mind at work! We have a diploma in Culinary Arts you know). So, the main flavours are Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and the 5th flavour, and lesser known, is Umami.

Umami is a flavour stumbled upon by Auguste Escoffier a legend, and some would consider the father of cooking. Umami can be described as meaty, smoky, earthy and savoury, and was first discovered with Escoffier’s invention of veal stock. Umami translates roughly from Japanese to “deliciousness”.

In East Asian cooking, more specifically, umami flavour can be found in an amino acid call glutamate which occurs naturally in meat, cheese and some vegetables (notably mushrooms, asparagus Worcestershire sauce and tomatoes - ketchup); when isolated glutamate becomes MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate.

See, now we got all wrapped up in food (mmm….wrapped up in foooood)…ya’ll should know…even though we maintain our weight quite well we are obsessed with food, we grew up with a family whose gathering revolved heavily on food – most of the people in our family are large – we used to be large – we dieted (Atkins, it works for the right blood types, and all that) and went from a size 24-26 or so, to a size 8-10…and have kept it off for over 6 years (our story is here on the website).

We love to talk about food, we love food. Just last night we got a strange look from a guy at the grocery store when we picked up a loaf of raisin bread, shoved it to our face, closed our eyes and inhaled…sometimes that’s all we need. Of course we were also dancing while we sniffed that loaf of heavenly raising bread...but whatever...judge not.

So, when it comes to emotions we are fairly in-tune with the flavours of them…an emotion not listed is disappointment, which one, okay, two, of us, routinely deal with when they can’t be in control of the body and the way we eat sometimes; a couple of us don’t even like to eat. Disappointment tastes like not getting to eat.

What our other emotions taste like:

Happy – Bacon, white wine, coffee, maple syrup and pancakes…so it would mostly be sweet and smoky – we’re guessing Umami would describe our flavour of happiness; umami and sweet. Happy is the best flavours, is our favourite flavours.

Sad – Starchy and salty, like tear… carbohydrates/starches like potatoes and pasta…and salty butter and pickles. Sadness is a cheeseburger…that’s what one of us thinks.

Excited – Sweet, like candy, and smoky like bacon; umami and sweetness. We’re guessing we’re pretty excited when we’re happy – it happens, but usually our happy is fleeting.

Tender – Caramel – simply caramel - sweet and buttery…fatty tenderness; Sweet and Salty are distinct caramel flavour and would be how we taste tenderness

Scared – for some reason we don’t have a flavour for scared. It’s not that we don’t get scared…but our scared is more in the form of paranoia…and Catherine (the one of us who gets paranoid the most, doesn’t like to eat – maybe because paranoia is a nervous feeling and she is afraid of upsetting the stomach). So fear tastes like nothingness, which is pretty close to how anger tastes.

Angry – the flavour of our anger would be iron, like the taste of blood…and nothingness. Bitter would and sour would probably be a good overall descriptor for our anger, and why not…isn’t anger stemmed from some sort of bitterness?

There you have it.

Since @kerrystott says they administer this question in therapy...
...we’d be really interested to know how well we answered this (if there is a such thing as answering this "well"…though we’re not paying him/her…so she/he is entitled to keeping that opinion to themselves. :)

We want to thank @kerrystott for providing us with a topic to write about today – it was rather fun!

And finally, where you taste case you were curious:-)

No idea where Umami is tasted, maybe that's just an "all over" taste.


  1. Love this question... and love your answers. :)

  2. Frank you have surpassed yourselves again! I loved reading this. I think therapy should be fun (where it can) and all my patients enjoy doing this one and I love joining in. I find the my own emotional flavour ranges changes over time and I can come up with different answers depending what's at the front of my brain. I work with people who have mood disorders including, occasionally, DID. A lot of the patients can't or have forgotten how to label emotions, they just say they feel 'shit' or 'REALLY shit'. I think that until you can label emotions and understand them a bit more then you can't express them and if you can't express them they well up and fester inside you, rotting you slowly.
    Frank you are lovely people and I love following you on twitter. Thanks for all the name checks :)
    Kerry x