Foodies are always searching for the perfect bite, but it always seems just out of reach. Generally, there is something that makes the experience fall short. Often, it is the ambient sound or music selections that can directly affect dining enjoyment. Musical pairing is a technique to enhance dining using a patented mathematical formula.
The original concept occurred when dining alone in a restaurant. Trying to avoid the “ceremonial clanging of the plates” that usually occurs when a maître d is told that you need a table for one, I sat with headphones at the ready. The wait staff immediately cleared every plate, utensil, and glassware to a cacophony of sounds. But I sat there in bliss, hearing nothing but my music.
During one particular dinner, a very odd sensation happened. I was eating a steak and mashed potatoes, something I had eaten thousands of times before. But this time, I was devouring it. My entire body hovered over the dish and I sawed voraciously into the meat. And then... the track changed and just as suddenly, my body language changed. I realized that I had unconsciously sat back in my chair and I reached for the salt, because the meat had lost its flavor. That set me on a two year challenge to find out why one piece of music had enhanced specific flavors in the dish and another deadened the palate for that same dish. What was the cause and effect of the relationship, and could it be duplicated? The answer was yes. But rather than being a psychological effect, it turned out to have neurological components as well. We determined this because genre and lyrics did not affect the enjoyment level of the food. Our results were published in the Advances in Nutrition and Food Technology: