I have a cousin who really doesn’t like when people slurp at the table. Soups, tea, water, anything. I’ve ended many a meal with her leaving the table, red faced and upset, because of the sound of my eating. It turns out that what I thought was a pet peeve of hers is, in fact, a veritable medical condition. People living with misophonia experience extreme feelings of annoyance and disturbance upon hearing eating sounds like smacking, gulping loudly, or gurgling.
Drawing inspiration from ramen eaters as well as wine and coffee tasters, for whom slurping is encouraged, food scientists set out to discover if noisy consumption methods could actually affect tasting experience.
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To get to the heart of their scientific inquiry, the research team conducted tests that saw participants testing three variables for optimum taste: sipping vs. slurping; mug vs. bowl; and temperatures A vs. temperature B. Each participant was asked to rate the intensity of the soup’s flavor, how much they enjoyed its taste, and to what extent they felt self conscious while slurping their meal.
The findings show that although the participants tended to feel more self conscious while slurping, it actually strengthened the flavor of the soup! The report notes that the difference in taste between the two consumption methods was “significant.” So noisy noodle eaters must actually be onto something.
I, for one, am going to start slurping as soon as I can. Catch me (or hear me) enjoying some of these slurpable meals.