As a student, I have the tendency to shove food down my throat and run off to my next class or my next assignment. I hardly stop to smell the roses (pun intended).
But, I’ve noticed that when I have a proper sit-down meal and chew one food at a time slowly, I find more enjoyment in my meal. Why?
Not only does ambience matter in how you enjoy a meal, but the manner in which you eat also matters. There are two ways we can smell food. One is through our nose when food hovers in front of our nose or passes past our nose and into our mouths. The other is when food is in your mouth and you swallow, the odor passes retronasally (up through the back of your nose). Retronasal olfaction is made stronger when we close our mouths while chewing – think of it as the odor in your mouth being more concentrated since you’ve closed your mouth while chewing (the odor has only one place to go: up the back of your nose).
In my case, garnering enjoyment from retronasal olfaction tells me that I haven’t lost all of my sense of smell. I have hyposmia (reduced sense of smell), not anosmia (total loss of sense of smell).
For those of you who have lost your sense of smell and aren’t sure whether you have partially or completely lost it, retronasal olfaction may give you an idea. If you detect an odor or smell something while chewing food slowly with your mouth closed, perhaps you haven’t lost all of your sense of smell.