Sensory perception is those elements that an individual can relate to by means of their senses. Sensory requirements are the most basic essentials for individual functioning. Sensory elements combine with physical and mental requirements in order to conduct day to day to activities of the individual. There are five recognized senses in the human body which are that of look, listen, touch, feel and taste. In the perception of art and aesthetics, the sense of looking, listening, touching and feeling are more often brought into context compared to the sense of taste.
In more recent times, the sense of taste has been associated with art and aesthetics. This is a curious standpoint (University of North Texas UNT, 2016). Taste starts with the cells of the human tongue. So the cells of the human tongue are what send a perception of the taste to the person. However, how does the perception of the taste lead people to feel a certain way about some tastes and not others? Also, how can taste connect with art? Art is usually felt with the four senses of look, listen, touch and feel only. This is the norm. However, feeling art with the five senses is fast becoming a discipline called the food aesthetics. Feeling art and aesthetics with the five senses is a new theory.
This essay discusses practices involving food aesthetics. Is the sensory perception which is caused by the taste of a food the only contributing factor to appreciating its aesthetics? Does good or likable taste of a food translate into food aesthetics or food art? This essay argues that the practice of food aesthetics is a mix of tasting real food combined with a cultural or social practice that creates the sensory perception. Food may appear aesthetic on its own. However, in being combined with a socio cultural practice or some secular or sacred ritual, it is elevated to a more artistic and aesthetic experience. To support this argument, this essay creates two main blocks of discussion. The first set of discussions asserts that taste is not a stand-alone sensory experience. Taste has to combine with other senses like that of feel with the tongue, smelling with the nose and seeing with eyes in order to make the sensory experience complete. The second set of assertions is that the sensory experience is elevated to art and aesthetic level when it is associated with cultural practices.
Food does have a transformative effect on the individual. It can change people’s perceptions. Unlike what Telfer presents (that food might not evoke emotions), it can be said that food does create emotions of satisfaction, fulfillment and more. However, as Telfer argues, it can be said that food by itself can at best be accepted as a minor art, and something not refined. There are many ambiguities when it comes to accepting the tasting of food as an art. Tasting of food is not seen to be the only way a person senses it. The person feels the texture of the food, smells it and tastes it. Similarly, all food is not art. Tasting a real peach and tasting a peach flavoured gum are not the same. There seems to be an absence of an assignment of permanent value to food as one would assign to an art. The value would change. Hence, given this status of food, it can have an art or aesthetic embellishment only when it is connected to a ritual or a socio cultural experience.