When it comes to using taste words in descriptions, most people automatically think of food. This makes complete sense considering our taste is most directly related to consuming food and the flavours they possess. But taste can be a lot more versatile description tool than just describing food (however noble that pursuit may be).
Smell and Taste
If you stop and consider your taste buds for a second, you’ll realise that they’re pretty closely linked to your sense of smell. Which is probably why you can describe the taste of something you never ate, just by the smell (and why particularly gross smells feel like they’re in your mouth and make you gag). This applies to food and non-food items like petrol and cigarettes; even the cold seems to have a taste. Similarly, your mouth can start preparing itself for what you’re going to eat just by its smell, sometimes even the name. For example, think of salt and vinegar chips! So, I’m sure you can see the importance of using taste words in your descriptions.
Not just food
Then there are other things we innately know the taste of (despite it not being a part of a recommended healthy diet) – sand, dirt, batteries, plastic hot wheels. When you’re a kid your mouth is just as much a part of exploring the world as your hands, eyes, and ears. Which is why we have a seemingly unexplainable profound knowledge of the flavour and texture of sand.
So, don’t forget to use taste words in your next epic description, but use them for more than just food. They’re effective in making your readers relate and understand a character’s predicament, whether they’re fighting dragons or surviving high school.
The Writing Resource launched a series covering sensory descriptions, so if you want to read more about how you can use your other senses to flesh out your descriptive scenes check out sight, smell, sound, and touch. Or, if you’re a member (you can sign up here) download your free PDF below that covers hundreds of descriptive words for all of the sense.