What Do Your Feelings Taste Like?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
June 14 2013 5:19 PM

What Do Your Feelings Taste Like?

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Cronuts taste like confusion

Photo illustration by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

I have a confession: Sometimes, I eat my feelings. I’ve never really considered exactly what they taste like before, though, which is why I enjoyed—savored!—a new piece on the Hairpin pairing particular emotions with their food correlatives. I would have said that sadness tastes of a semi-soggy cake from which most of the icing has been scraped and that frustration has a pistachio flavor, especially if you’ve just cut your thumb trying to pry the pistachio open instead of smartly selecting a different nut with a wider gap between the two halves of the shell. Then there’s indifference, which is basically cereal (for breakfast—cereal for dinner approaches despair), and happiness (a ripe strawberry) and ennui (a stale bagel).

It turns out that many of us around the Slate office have feelings, and many of us eat them. “The cold leftover Pad Thai I had for lunch definitely tasted like ambivalence,” reports Jathan Sadowski, a Future Tense intern. Meanwhile, editorial assistant Emma Roller says the “dry, chewy falafel sandwich” she was eating when I hounded her evoked “Friday afternoon malaise.” “Lasagna,” reflected science and health editor Laura Helmuth, “tastes like the third date, when he makes you dinner at his place.” On the other hand, “Girl Scout Samoas taste like obligation.”

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Andrew Morgan, a designer, contends that “Chef boy-ar-dee at age 25 is the sudden and utter abandonment of childhood, which leaves you with an unfillable and oddly metallic tasting void of nostalgia, loss, and regret.” Perhaps he should relive a different golden age by sipping tequila, which, according to managing editor Rachael Larimore, “tastes like college.” The loveliest response came by email from culture critic June Thomas, who writes, “A funnel cake dusted with glitter from a passing drag queen and the smoky residue of dykes on bikes tastes like (gay) pride.”

Given two pints of Häagen Dazs ice cream, a group of us determined, the first will taste of bitter despair and the second of “not giving a fuck.” The third will taste of sudden death by cardiac arrest. And an artisanal donut—like a passion fruit cruller from the upscale shop GBD—suggests you’re in a discerning mood, especially if your office sits right next to a Krispy Kreme.  

But perhaps you, dear reader, also have feelings about feelings and their culinary counterparts. Please join our Friday emotional potluck—which is also an unintentional advertisement for the concepts of synesthesia and metaphor—and share in the comments! The anticipation tastes like a delicious end-of-week Happy Hour.

Katy Waldman is Slate’s words correspondent. 

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