There’s something magical about cooking a meal while listening to a record. It’s also just as wonderful to sit down and enjoy that food to the sounds of your favorite musicians. Food and music are a pitch-perfect pairing. I’ve long known this, and it’s why we keep a turntable and our entire vinyl collection in the kitchen. It’s also why I started this blog. What I didn’t know until now, however, is there’s actually science behind the concept.
There have actually been studies conducted on the effects of music on eating behaviors. I guess shouldn’t be surprised. I’m sure restaurant chains would pay big money for a soundtrack guaranteed to boost sales. While I don’t care about the financial side of these studies, I do find it interesting to learn the science behind something I always felt intuitively.
Most recently, researchers at the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford found there may be clear associations between taste and pitch. Their studies indicate that high-pitched notes are primarily associated with sweet and sour foods, while low-pitched sounds are more often paired with bitter and umami tastes. Their research also found that the soundtrack accompanying a meal may alter its taste. (More about their findings.)
Comfort foods get even more comforting if you eat them with the right kind of musical ambiance, according to a new study on the effects of different background music on the taste of foods. Specifically, music can make comfort foods taste that much better, but it may not improve or change your feelings about non-comforting foods. I guess that means emotional eaters should steer clear of music when snacking! (More about the study.)
What do you think? Have you noticed that certain music affects your taste buds? Is music an important part of a dining experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the science or the conjecture of pairing music and food.