a. Sight. Your sense of sight is one of the most frequently used senses and
probably the most important. Your diners will look at your food before they will eat it
and just by sight will have judged that food item edible or not. If it is not appealing, they
will not accept it. For example, beef tongue served whole on a platter will turn most
people off. However, present the same tongue in an appealing manner, trimmed, thinly
sliced, and arranged on the platter with an appropriate garnish and most people will select
it and believe it to be roast beef. When conducting your evaluation of a food product,
you can recognize certain features, such as freshness, appeal, color, shape, size, texture,
and consistency. Your sense of sight will tell you if a product is "just right." It will then
be your job to determine further why the product does not meet standards.
b. Smell. The aroma of a food product is important. This adds to your eating
enjoyment and has a direct influence on taste. Flavor is perceived as a combination of
smell and taste. The smell, or aroma, is established first. This sense is the keener of the
two and will assure a more positive and faster identification of a food product. When
conducting your evaluation of a product, certain smelling techniques can aid you. A deep
sniff at short intervals using both nostrils is the best. If possible, sniff with your mouth
open while waving at the product from the region of the nose to mouth. This permits full
penetration of the sensory area. When using this procedure, ensure the surrounding air is
free from other aromas.
(1) If a comparison of a similar product is being made, a sniff of one sample
should be followed by a sniff of the other. This sequence repeated several times should
be enough for a positive identification.
(2) If a control sample product is being analyzed, the control sample is
evaluated first. Then the unknown sample is evaluated.
(3) Dry products can be evaluated by first blowing on the sample with moist
breath and then smelling. The moisture from your breath will release the aroma in the
product ensuring you a more precise evaluation.
(4) The nose is the center of aroma evaluation. A few molecules of an aroma-
producing product will excite this organ enough to make a determination with speed and
accuracy. When we breathe, air enters through our nostrils and passes from the lower
nostrils up through the nasal passages and down to the region of the throat. The area
controlling the sense of smell is located in the highest part of the nasal cavity known as
the olfactory bulb tract. This tract is moist mucus membrane containing a large number
of nerve fibers. Although the olfactory tract is the center of aroma detection for the brain,
the entire nasal cavity aids in evaluating a product.
c. Taste. When you evaluate a product, you must ultimately taste it even if you
dislike it. To properly evaluate a product, you must use your sense of taste: your tongue.
Your tongue has over 9,000 taste buds, and the distribution of the taste buds over the
tongue is uneven. This makes the tongue unequally sensitive to each kind of taste and less