Your mother probably told you to close your mouth when you chew. But what if she’s wrong?
Sure, not showing the world the full contents of your mouth is polite, but it’s not the best food experience. Researchers at the University of Oxford have found that open-mouth eaters help to release volatile organic compounds, which affect senses like smell as well as the eating experience.
When you chew foods with your mouth open, it pushes aromatic compounds to the back of the nose. Now your senses are awakened, neurons in your brain are firing, your food tastes better and eating is a more pleasurable experience. It’s the same effect as when you swish a glass of wine around to “open it up.”
This is really going to gross a lot of people out who don’t subscribe to the "See-Food" diet, though. Can we get used to the idea of people purposefully gnawing on a burger, mouth ajar, for all to see?
But there may be another way. As we have other senses besides smell and taste, we can also focus on unlocking those to better enjoy food. For example, we can touch our food and really get into the feel, of say, an orange's nubbly skin. Or we can stare at food, taking in all the colors and visual texture. Both of these will also get neurons firing, enhancing the food experience. Again, these are all part of enjoying fine wine, which explains why the process is so important.
So, the next time you eat, take a moment to take it all in. Take a deep whiff and purposely touch your food with your fingers or your tongue. Observe the colors, the patterns and the shapes on your plate. Give a listen to see if your food has a sound. And, if all else fails, let your jaw go slack and chew your food with your mouth wide open like no one is watching.