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2017/Pleasures in food

For its 6th annual meeting, the Chair examines the multiple ways that eating and pleasure are linked together. The pursuit of pleasure is a fundamental aspect of food practices and is not simply a cherry on the cake that is an added after nutritional needs are satisfied. In fact, the experience of eating involves all of our senses as sources of pleasure: sight (which can make our "mouths water", or the opposite...), touch (to evaluate the texture of food), hearing (to hear what is crunchy or crispy, for example) and, of course, smell and taste. Eating is therefore a multisensory process which also involves the weight of representations and the memories attached to them. Eating awakes emotions associated with memories of the past (Proust’s famous madeleine). Lastly, one should add the pleasure of transmission, socially and culturally constructed around values, symbols, etc., and the pleasure of sharing food by eating at the same table (commensality).

How does the nervous system analyse all of this sensory information and what hedonic meaning can it be given? Does sensory pleasure contribute to healthier diets? How does the food industry develop products that appeal to our senses? Is the pleasure of eating only worthwhile if it is shared? How may gastronomy, the art of good food, be better shared?

Read the overview

The symposium in 7 minutes (with English subtitles):