Food for Thought

The X-Factor

Have you ever wondered why that spaghetti in an authentic Italian restaurant never measures up to your grandmothers? Or why restaurants add “Momma’s” at the beginning of any dish and it makes sound better? Or they even go as far as to claim that a dish is “better that your mom’s”.

Well they are using a tactic called the “X-Factor”. The “X-Factor”  is the emotional, spiritual and mental connection we associate with food, and is effects our perception of flavor.

Flavor = Taste + Mouthfeel + Aroma + ‘The X Factor’

Another Example: In the movie Ratatouille, Remy serves the critic a spin on Ratatouille, a french peasant dish. As reluctant as everyone is at first, they bring the dish to Ego’s table, and after he takes a bite, it takes him back to a memory with his mother, where she in fact, used to cook Ratatouille, which results in an excellent review from Ego.

I have a boyfriend, his name is Brett. I cook for him all the time, and he really enjoys my cooking. However, when I asked him the other night what his Top 3 Dinners were, he immediately said his mom’s steak fingers, tacos and spaghetti. And no matter how I make them, they won’t be as good as his Mom’s, and that is okay.

The “X-Factor” is not limited to mothers and grandmothers, it obviously can be any family member. Food can take you back to your childhood quicker than any videotape can. Food can make you remember a loved one, when miles comes between you. Its all connected to an experience or a memory in your life. Food is memories, and can be so powerful.


Information pulled from “The Flavor Bible”





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