(British Food Fortnight runs from 23rd September – 8th October)
Vicky: One of our favourite subjects. But recently Dave was asked the question do you taste things differently because you are blind? We started to discuss this but couldn’t get beyond the question ‘How do we know how anyone tastes things?’… Whilst we don’t want to start a philosophical debate (that would be too high brow for us :-)) it is worth thinking about whether people with a vision impairment do have a different relationship with food. It’s something that John Hull mentions on pages 37 & 38 in his book ‘Touching the Rock’, sharing his thoughts about whether the sight of food is the motivator to eat, distinguishing between ‘I feel hungry’ and ‘I want to eat that food which I see there’ going on later to say ‘I am often bored by food, feel that I am losing interest in it or cannot be bothered eating…the visual clues which exercise the actual desire and turn it towards the object are lacking’. In reading this, though, I was reminded of times when I have felt quite low and have been unmotivated to eat, even when food was in front of me and knowing that I should eat it. This may or may not be related to how John was feeling when he wrote that part of his diary.
We were also talking to someone who has been visually impaired since birth and wouldn’t eat sandwiches as a child – maybe because the sandwiches had no smell or at least not as much as cooked food. Having said that my son’s friend, who doesn’t have a vision impairment, also didn’t like sandwiches and we have no idea why!
On a practical note, it is something to bear in mind though if maybe you’re working in a residential home with elderly people with sight impairments – how to make food appealing when people can’t see it.
As for eating out, cooking etc. – we’ll save those for future posts…
Dave: Did someone mention food? I’m not even going to attempt to answer the question as to whether I have a different relationship to food as sighted people… there just isn’t the time right now and I wouldn’t really know where to start… It probably comes back to personality and our make up – food for some people is really important, for others it’s just a means to stay alive. What I will add, just to throw something else in to the mix (ing bowl) is that, as I don’t see food (and I’m talking about those visual clues or prompts that it’s there), I don’t get the urge to snack. For example, there might be a bar of chocolate in the fridge (yes, chocolate must be served cold). I might go to the fridge 20 times a day and, because I’m not going for chocolate, forget about it, whereas a sighted person will see the chocolate each time they open the fridge door and get the temptation just to have 1 little piece… Eating out and buffets are just a whole new post!!
Vicky: Interesting thought about the chocolate – my sister in law (who is sighted) says that if there is chocolate in the house she can hear it calling her!! And talking of chocolate – we decided to do a bit of taste testing of our own - watch our video to see if not being able to see enabled us to focus more on the flavours…
Join in and do your own taste testing, let us know how you get on or just share your own thoughts and experiences with us by commenting…
Interested to learn more about VIDA Training? Read about our Training and Consultancy packages, specialising in Vision Impairment and Disability Awareness, Communication and Team Building or contact us for further information.
Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.