We all know what happens when we bite into something too hard or too soft, so what about that middle ground? What does a normal bite feel like? The way you react to the sensation of your teeth sinking into your food can vary depending on factors such as your oral health, but it’s also affected by the sensation of crunchiness and crispiness of the food you’re eating. Crunchy foods generally feel harder to bite than softer foods, which are described as crispier. So what is the difference between these sensations and how do they impact the taste of food?
The Difference Between Crunchy and Chewy
There’s no doubt that different textures can make food more enjoyable, but what makes one texture better than another? Maybe it’s just personal preference, but there’s still an objective difference between chewy and crunchy. Put simply, crunchy foods have crisp outer edges and softer insides. Chewy foods have an even consistency throughout. So which one is better? A normal bite of any food should give you both textural elements: The outer edge should be pleasingly crispy while your inner mouth gets to enjoy that sensation only chewiness can provide. Or you could forget about it altogether, dive in with an open mouth and chew like a dog. Don’t judge. It works for some people.
Crunchiness vs. Chewiness
Different things affect how we taste and experience food. As everyone knows, food often tastes quite different from what it smells like, or looks like. This is because our brains take in several different signals from each part of our bodies (the eyes, nose, ears, and tongue) to formulate what we call an overall impression of what that bite tastes like. This is why you might taste sweets on your tongue even when you are actually eating something salty! Similarly, if your mouth feels hot after eating something spicy (as happens with many ethnic cuisines), then your brain will tell you that your last bite was too spicy, even though it wasn’t really all that hot, to begin with. When everything comes together perfectly—which can be difficult to pull off—we have what I call a normal bite. Here’s one example of such perfection: A simple piece of buttered toast topped with golden honey and sweet blueberries. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Things That Affect the Bite Experience
1. How much are you chewing your food before swallowing it, or chewing it thoroughly as mother used to say? Do you chew at least 20 times before you swallow it and can you feel your mouth breaking down your food into smaller pieces when chewing? That’s part of what gives food a normal bite.
2. Are there other foods being chewed in your mouth while trying to eat something else – gum or ice for example – that could throw off the experience of a normal bite? If you can’t remember if you have gum in your mouth, then why not just spit it out and save yourself from slurring words for 15 minutes after eating because of all that sticky residue gum creates!
3. Is it hot outside? Is there an open door somewhere else in your house where cold air is pouring out on you? Both conditions reduce salivation which lessens your ability to break down food into smaller pieces using saliva and adds stress to your body leading to digestion issues like diarrhea or constipation.
4. What kind of last meal did you eat… a bacon cheeseburger with fries followed by a big piece of chocolate cake with milk shakes and cherry pie à la mode?! Yes, we love sweets but feeding them to ourselves too often leads us back here again wondering why we crave so many sweets all day long because we haven’t properly digested them before they enter our bloodstream causing blood sugar issues that lead us directly back here again wondering why everything makes us hungry now!