Food as an emotional trigger

What do you eat when you’re sad? Or are you the type who doesn’t eat at all?

These days, I am the latter, only eating when I am force-fed. The thing I crave the most when I’m in this state of mind is alcohol — white wine, in particular, from the South American region. Why? I have a hypothesis about this.

It was one of those days, when I was younger and still plagued by boy trouble. I found myself in my pajamas at a supermarket, where I bought a big bag of chips and the cheapest white wine I could find. Perhaps it was a combination of how low I felt and how good the wine seemed to taste, but I felt comforted. Somehow, my brain registered the fact that it was a wine from Argentina. Or Chile.

And even now, almost a decade later, whenever I feel sad, I start to imagine the taste of semi-sweet, South American white wine. (I never really found out what wine it was, and don’t even know the brand name, but I believe it was a Sauvignon Blanc.)

Here’s another question: What makes you feel sad when you eat it?

While we know that there’s a link between food and how it affects your mood, and that how you feel can affect how you choose your food, what do we know about very specific foods as emotional triggers?

For example, I once had a rather emotionally harrowing experience at a hospital. During my recovery period, I was given a cup of hot Milo with cream crackers. For a couple of years after that, I was unable to eat Milo and biscuits without crying.

This intersection of psychology and taste as a sensory stimuli is something I would like to find out more about.

Do you have any resources or stories to share? Leave me a comment or drop me a line.

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