The taste scale

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You’ve been to the supermarket and stared at row upon row of packaged foods. Each announces how good it is and how much you’re going to enjoy it. Kind of like audio equipment, right? No manufacturer makes what they consider to be bad sounding audio goods just as no food manufacturer makes products they think taste bad.

And yet, there are so many times I’ve bought into the marketing on the front of the package only to find out it was not for me.

The problem is we cannot tell by ingredients alone what something’s going to taste like. If I am in the cookie section and focus only on organic this, and natural that, it doesn’t tell me squat about how it’s actually going to taste.

What would happen if we agreed on a taste scale? You know, a 1-10 great taste scale as determined by an official set of certified tasters? Kind of like reviewers in the audio market.

I would then be able to quickly scan down the plethora of cookies and suss out the few 10s and take them home. Done! No more bad choices.

Only, what do you want to bet my tastes aren’t always going to line up with theirs? That despite the list of ingredients, despite the taste testers, the end product may not match my tastes.

I think this is a good example of a couple of things. First, it helps us understand why audio measurements only tell us a tiny bit of a bigger story. Second, it helps us understand why our experiences often do not match those of others. Our systems, our homes, our personal biases do not always line up with others.

There’s only one way to make a choice. Do what you can to narrow the field by manufacturer, reputation, and review. Then you gotta take it home and give it a taste, or a listen.

The only valid taste or listening scale is your own.