Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5c569c448b-b4ls7 Total loading time: 0.497 Render date: 2022-07-03T15:52:41.252Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

83 - Taste

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2019

Charles Forsdick
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool, and Arts & Humanities Research Council Theme Leadership Fellow for ‘Translating Cultures’.
Get access

Summary

‘Taste’ appeared among the original keywords proposed by Raymond Williams, and was selected again for inclusion in New Keywords (2005). Williams (1976 [2014], 308) focuses on the physical sense of the word, but points out that its meaning from the thirteenth century was much wider and closer to the modern terms ‘touch’ or ‘feel’. The current association with gustatory sensation and specifically the mouth emerged in the fourteenth century, although current scientific research shows an increased interest in the interdependence of the senses, and specifically the association of taste and smell. The term is double-edged, however, not only implying perception of the flavour of an item (most notably food) via the organs of taste, but also reflecting (from the eighteenth century onwards) forms of supposedly objective discernment and discrimination associated with what is deemed aesthetically pleasing in art and other areas of cultural production. The latter meaning might be associated with the important traveller/tourist dichotomy (Buzard 1993; Urbain 1993 [1991]), with the traveller's (good) taste or tastefulness often contrasted with the more tawdry and tasteless appetites of tourism. Anti-tourism may therefore be seen – in the terms of Pierre Bourdieu (1984) – as an attempt to translate, via taste, class distinctions into the cultural capital relating to travel. As Williams (2014 [1976], 310) presciently comments, ‘[T] he idea of taste cannot now be separated from the idea of the consumer.’ The entry in Keywords comments that – unlike other sense words with metaphorical uses such as ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ – the extended uses of ‘taste’ have been almost entirely abstracted from physical sensation, but it might nevertheless be argued that in the area of gastro-or enotourism, the ability to appreciate the flavours of indigenous produce represents the acme of good taste.

The specific focus on taste as a form of sensation is central to travel writing, notwithstanding the shifting semantics of the term discussed above. David Scott (2004) – exploring the place of taste in Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Michel Leiris and Patrick Boman – describes ‘grammars of gastronomy’ evident in the travelogue, and taste is an integral part of many key anthropological texts, including work by Jack Goody and Claude Lévi-Strauss. Food and drink play a practical purpose too, providing fuel for the journey, especially when this depends on extremes of physical endurance.

Type
Chapter
Information
Keywords for Travel Writing Studies
A Critical Glossary
, pp. 244 - 246
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×