The perception of food, knowing it from INSIDE is completed through practice, expertise, experience and, of course, fruition of food itself. Fruition, not merely consumption, happens when we interiorize our food. Taste is personal, inner and intimate. But at the same time taste is due by the combination of physical sensations and cultural categorization; it can be transformed into a social experience. In fact tasting is an act of translation, making public a private experience.
In addition food represents a hedonistic pleasure, food is fun. In contraposition of the rationality of Plato, Epicure’s philosophy explained that “The beginning and the root of all good is the pleasure (hedone) of the stomach (gaster); even wisdom (Sophia) and culture must be referred to this.”
It’s possible to distinguish a sort of “culinary humanity” even within the Asian philosophies, where food is put in the center of cultural life, in an aesthetical way. For the Chinese culture food is also expression of the opposite but interconnected spiritual forces of yin and yang which preside over the world: the light and the dark. Instead the Buddhist religion deeply discusses about food and morality, especially related to one’s fundamental relationship to living beings (alias animal killing or eating an animal).