In past blogs, Synesthesia And Me – part 1, A Colourful Alphabet, I talked about numbers and letters having colours. And Synesthesia And Me – part 2, Hearing Colours, I talked about the colours I see when listening to music. This post – Part 3, is about experiencing colours with taste.
DISCLAIMER: I should point out that this is all my personal experience, and I have never been tested to see if I actually do have Synesthesia. Like I said in my first post about it, I didn’t even realize until I was in my 20s the things I’m telling you about other people didn’t experience.
This is probably the hardest one yet to explain mostly because the experience is opposite from letters or music making a colour. In this case the colour stimulates the taste.
The tastes I associate with specific colours are mostly food flavours since most things I taste is food. Also, these are associations I formed as a child. So is this really Synesthesia? I don’t know, but people look at me funny when I talk about it so, sure.
I also wonder when I taste a food in general, do other people taste what I’m tasting? If I describe a taste that a specific colour gives me, will anyone actually know? Most people like sweet things, but what does sweet taste like. The obvious answer is sugar, but what does sugar taste like then? Sweet?
I think to break down my examples to be recognizable, I will give examples of Sweet, Bitter, Sour, and Salty.
Since I mentioned sugar above as a sweet taste I’ll start with that colour. Sweet is pink. I can actually show the exact pink too. This one here:
I don’t know if it’s pink from a lifetime of cherry or strawberry flavoured candies. But I don’t think it is because when I think of a cherry flavoured hard candy, it definitely doesn’t taste like pink. However, a sugar cube I think is the purest form of the colour. I can still taste it if I eat a sweetened cranberry or a grape. There are of course other flavours mingling with the sweet, but if I break it down to the colour of sweet it is the colour of sugar. Pink.
So if I’m shopping, I’ll most likely gravitate towards something of this colour because it gives me such a pleasant tongue experience.
The next flavour is Bitter. I really don’t enjoy eating bitter foods or beverages. I always have to add milk to my coffee to remove the bite, and I truly can’t drink more than a couple sips of beer. But the colour is enchanting. A rich gold brown, very warm and comforting with the essence of fall. I love looking at this colour, as the bite never fully translates to my tongue and I’m just left with the pleasant sensation of what I think beer should taste like, or pumpkin pie.
Next is Sour. If you think of eating a lemon or lime, some Sour Patch Kids, or really anything with citric acid I think, this colour pops up.
Not really a surprising colour for the flavour is it? In my mind’s eye when I’m eating something sour, I don’t quite get hit with the neon that this image shows, but if I see a shirt this colour, I probably won’t buy it because my tongue will keep puckering at the colour. Same kind of tongue puckering as when you eat a lime. Similar greens will have the same effect.
I kept Salty for last because honestly, it’s white… (my eyes are rolling). I know, lame. The thing with salt is that while it has the fantastic ability to enhance other flavours and bring out other colours in a dish, the essence that salt leaves is still white. I notice the colour most when I’m eating bar foods that are extra salted to encourage patrons to drink more. I feel like all the colours of the food I’m eating has been whitewashed.
There is no image for salt, as white doesn’t show up on white. Think of this page as salty.
Now for some fun!
These are the colours that stand out the most for me when I’m living my life and has the greatest visually effect on my taste buds.
This one is so delicious. The colour of beef. Beef is my favourite flavour of meat. Something to do with the iron in it I think. The colour combo I think you can see represents the raw and the cooked portions of a nice steak, but hamburgers, meatballs, and roasts will also fit into this colour combo.
This was a little harder to make, but it is the colour of vanilla ice cream with caramel ribbons throughout. Usually, I see this colour combo in granite countertops, but about 10 years ago there was a fad of painting walls with all those warm caramel colours, and the door and window trimmings where white. (I’m drooling, ahh so yummy!)
Now for a gross colour. Peach. The colour makes my mouth feel like I just threw up, and I come across it so much. I have such a visceral reaction to this colour that my face always scrunches up and my tongue curls, almost recoiling at the vision. One time when I was working in retail, the colours of the spring/summer season was this peach and a lime green (yes, let’s just add sour to an already disgusting colour). It was so gross to be working in the section that those clothes were in. Every day I had to try to keep my face neutral, especially when customers would come in and exclaim how great the colours were. I hated them.
So on that note, what do you think of my colours? Do you have the same flavour associations?