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(DAY 454) Why Food Tastes Better When Someone Else Makes It

· 4 min read
Gaurav Parashar

Have you ever noticed how food seems to taste infinitely better when someone else makes it? This phenomenon isn't just a figment of your imagination or a quirk of your personal experience. It's a well-documented occurrence that combines psychological and sensory factors. When we cook our own meals, the process often dulls our excitement and appetite, making the final dish seem less appealing.

The Psychology Behind Food Tasting Better When Prepared by Others

When you spend time preparing a meal, you're exposed to the sights, smells, and even tastes of the ingredients long before the dish is complete. This prolonged exposure leads to sensory adaptation, where your senses become less responsive to the stimuli they are repeatedly exposed to. By the time you sit down to eat, the meal that once excited your senses now feels familiar and less stimulating. Eating a meal prepared by someone else also introduces elements of anticipation and surprise. You don't know exactly what to expect, which heightens your senses and increases your enjoyment of the food. The novelty and unpredictability contribute significantly to the perception that food tastes better when someone else makes it.

The Science of Smell in Food and Appetite

Smell is a critical component of flavor perception. The olfactory system, responsible for detecting odors, is directly connected to the brain's limbic system, which governs emotions and memory. This connection is why certain smells can evoke strong memories and feelings. When you eat, the aromas of the food combine with its taste to create a complex flavor experience.

Aromas play a vital role in stimulating appetite. The smell of food triggers the release of saliva and digestive enzymes, preparing the body to eat and enjoy the meal. This process begins long before you take your first bite, as the olfactory signals prime your brain and body for the eating experience.

Vegetarian Indian Food: A Symphony of Aromas

Indian cuisine, particularly its vegetarian dishes, is renowned for its rich and diverse flavors. The use of spices and aromatic ingredients creates an olfactory experience that is both enticing and satisfying. Here are some standout vegetarian Indian dishes known for their aromatic qualities:


Chole, or chickpea curry, is a staple in North Indian cuisine. This dish is made with chickpeas cooked in a spicy tomato-based sauce, infused with a blend of aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. The addition of fresh ginger, garlic, and onions enhances the fragrance, making the kitchen smell inviting as the flavors meld together.

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer combines tender paneer (cottage cheese) cubes with a smooth spinach sauce. The aroma of this dish is enriched with garlic, ginger, green chilies, and garam masala. The fresh spinach leaves add a vibrant green color and a distinctive earthy smell that elevates the overall sensory experience.

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi is a simple yet flavorful dish made with potatoes and cauliflower. The vegetables are cooked with spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and red chili powder. The addition of ginger, garlic, and onions creates a mouth-watering aroma that makes this dish a favorite in many Indian households.


Vegetarian Biryani is a fragrant rice dish cooked with vegetables and a medley of spices, including cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and bay leaves. The rice is often flavored with saffron, adding a luxurious aroma and a golden hue. The slow cooking process allows the spices to infuse deeply into the rice, creating a dish that is as aromatic as it is flavorful.

The perception that food tastes better when someone else makes it is a multifaceted phenomenon influenced by psychological and sensory factors. Cooking fatigue and sensory adaptation can dull our excitement for meals we prepare ourselves, while anticipation and novelty enhance our enjoyment of food made by others. The role of smell in food cannot be overstated, as it plays a crucial part in flavor perception and appetite stimulation. Indian cuisine, with its rich aromatic vegetarian dishes, provides a perfect example of how smell enhances the culinary experience. From the spicy aroma of Chole to the earthy fragrance of Palak Paneer, these dishes showcase the importance of aroma in creating delicious and satisfying meals.

Next time you find yourself marveling at the taste of a meal prepared by someone else, remember the complex interplay of psychology and sensory perception that makes this experience so delightful. And perhaps, treat yourself to some aromatic vegetarian Indian food to fully appreciate the power of smell in enhancing your culinary enjoyment.