Dr. Paul Rozin
Healthy Epicurean, Wellness Culture

The Art of Savoring…the “Master of Taste” Dr. Paul Rozin Checks in from Paris

Welcome to the third installment of the “Health Epicurean” series with World Wise Beauty.

How do you maximize pleasure when eating? Epicureans would say you should savor the experience.  How do you savor the experience? Well you start by slowing down.  For example, sipping wine slowly while nibbling cheese is really an art for the French.  But maybe “savoring” is an important part of their cultural value system which encourages the pleasure of eating.  We humans are fascinating and majorly influenced by our culture,  so I thought I would reach out to Dr. Paul Rozin, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania for some wisdom.  Dr. Rozin’s recent studies has been likened to the work of a gustatory anthropologist.  A gusta what you ask?  Let’s just say he’s a “Master of Taste”!  No worries, this is not a college course.  Sometimes complex theories can be condensed into digestible ideas–no pun intended! 

Truly Herself,  Lauroly

Welcome Dr. Rozin.  Thank you for dropping in from Paris to share some of your fascinating research with us.  I couldn’t help using this title for our Q&A as your recent studies have focused on food experience and the pleasure of eating. What a wonderful focus for research! 

Dr. Paul Rozin:  Eating is one of the great pleasures of life.  Eating, including shopping for it and food preparation, is probably the third most time consuming activity in our life (after work…assuming that isn’t about eating, and sleep).  So we should enjoy it and not spoil it by worrying about every bite.

Lauroly Q:  You have spent a lot of time studying cultural differences when it comes to the relationship between food and pleasure.  What have you found are the major differences between Americans and Europeans?

Dr. Paul Rozin:  Most of my work compares France and the USA. Generally, Americans are ambivalent about eating, especially women.  They are worried about their weight (eating of course, is related to weight) and also about healthy diets.  French, who live longer than Americans and weigh less, mainly eat to enjoy the taste and social experience of eating.

 Lauroly Q:  Why do you think diets and nutrition fads are so prevalent here in the states?

Dr. Paul Rozin:  Everyone, all humans, including medical scientists, are subject to fads.  But Americans, because they don’t have a strong culinary tradition (unlike France) are more subject to fads that involve changes in what one is eating. Also, it is probably true that the Protestant ethic makes one feel more responsible for one’s weight and diet, and encourages change, and we are constantly offered new recipes of a healthier body and lighter weight by diet change.

Lauroly Q:  How can Americans shift to the pleasure principle regarding eating?

Dr. Paul Rozin:  We have to serve less, like the French.  It would also help to eat more social meals, with people together not watching TV, and paying more attention to the food and even talking about it.

Lauroly Q:  There have been several best-selling books in the U.S  with the following titles:

All of the countries highlighted in these books have in some sense homogeneous societies with deeply ingrained cultural influences when it comes to their relationship with food.  How do we find our own healthy relationship with food here in America?  I see the next best-selling book with a title like this: The American Woman’s Fight with Food: The cost of eating and the decline of pleasure.  Yes, a very gloomy book concept, but in reality we aren’t even sure of our food safety and sources anymore.  On the bright side I see another trend developing. We are becoming a multi-cultural country and beginning a love affair with bold flavor and spices.  Maybe the blending of cultures will be our bridge to pleasurable eating? What do you think? Give me hope…

Dr. Paul Rozin:  I like what you are saying.  American food quality is excellent, and very diverse.  We have plenty of food to enjoy; we should just eat it more slowly and eat less of it.

Lauroly Closing:  So we have to “slow down and savor”!  Sounds way too hard for us Americans.  But I sure will give it a try.  I might start my savoring practice with the chocolate chip cookie waiting for me in the kitchen.  Only one of course! Thanks so much for dropping in Dr. Rozin–enjoy Paris and all it’s pleasures!

WWB SHARE:  A gift for true foodies! If you would like to take a crash course with Dr. Rozin sitting comfortably at home–this is worth clicking through to! Check out a really interesting YouTube video of Michael Pollan ( Food Author) and Dr. Paul Rozin at the University of California, Berkeley.  The video is entitled “Edible 103: The Psychology of Food” .  

WWB CHAT: What is your favorite culture when it comes to epicurean delights?  Let’s travel vicariously through each other!

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