It’s official: we can never get enough salted caramel. A 2016 study at the University of Florida found that we eventually tire of foods that contain only one main recognisable flavour component – no matter how scrumptious. But the salty, sweet and fatty elements of salted caramel create a more complex taste that subtly changes with every bite, keeping our brains craving more and more. This is a phenomenon known as ‘hedonic escalation’.
I just love the science behind this, so simple and yet so complex. It got me to thinking about things in my own sphere, not just flavours but the whole business of experiences. It struck me that I saw aspects of life as an opportunity to try something that didn’t always deliver exactly as expected. I love cheese, I love wine (the cheaper end), and I love new situations as long as they don’t become old ones. After they become routine, I need to move on.
This behaviour has been the norm for me for as long as I can remember. I reach the point of no return as soon as boredom pokes its head around the door. No, boredom is not the right word, ennui captures it better, or world-weariness. In short, I long for adventures. I yearn for the foot on the moon moments. And I thirst for those experiences that are different from ones I have encountered before, ones that I can contemplate as a result of the knowledge that has been gained from previous, similar, yet different, engagements.
It seems that ‘salted caramel’ thinking is my way of thinking. Sweet and savoury. No wonder the Greeks and Romans valued salt so highly.