The Wisdom of Taste, the Taste of Wisdom

Taste as Experience: The Philosophy and Aesthetics of Food (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) - Nicola Perullo 2016

The Wisdom of Taste, the Taste of Wisdom

If you make your pleasure depend on drinking good wine, you condemn yourself to the pain of sometimes drinking bad wine. We must have a less exacting and freer taste.


Wisdom is not an additional access to the experience of food, but the ability to recognize and understand the emergence, the relevance, or the presence of each of the three described modes of access from a refined, comprehensive, and aware perception. From the arguments I proposed in this essay, this kind of perception can be called an aesthetic perception, and it corresponds to a savoir-faire, a knowing how to move in the world, a way of possessing characteristics such as flexibility, regulation, and transition.

The route traveled thus far has described particular inclinations in the gustatory relationship. The experience of pleasure insisted on the capacity to receive, to be available and permeable to naked and naive delight, a kind of rewarding passivity. The experience of knowledge was proposed, in contrast, as a moving toward, a meeting with food through its most varied qualitative pleats. A dressed taste, the result of an active, cultivated, and adult approach. The experience of indifference, then, was characterized not only in terms of deprivation and deficiency, but as a withdrawal of gustatory attention from the foreground, a feeling of more or less enduring extraneousness, brought about for different reasons and directed at the emergence of other experiential projects. I repeatedly pointed out that those three ways of access to food, presented as separate in the architecture of this essay, in reality intertwine, overlap, and reshape themselves. In one’s life, situations are almost never clear-cut and separate; most of the time, they are hybrid and therefore they ask for flexibility and adaptability. Wisdom thus does not correspond to a strict rule, but rather to a suggestion: trying to understand as many different experiences as possible in order to joyfully participate in the variety of ecological gustatory occurrences.