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If you want to enjoy your food it’s time to throw out those table manners and chew with your mouth open!
Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, has revealed that “we’ve been doing it all wrong” when it comes to eating.
As kids, most of us were taught to keep our lips sealed at the dinner table. But Professor Spence believes the habit is preventing us from enjoying a fuller sensory experience.
Many of our favourite foods, including meat, fruit and vegetables, contain “volatile organic compounds,” he explained in an interview with The Times.
But by chewing with our mouths open, it allows “more of these compounds to reach the back of the nose” – which stimulates our sense of smell and heightens the eating experience.
Open-mouthed eating also makes for a noisier experience, which Prof. Spence says is a plus (though many others who’ve sat next to a noisy muncher on the train would probably disagree).
According to Spence, traditional English table manners were “designed for those who are embarrassed by food”.
However, this isn’t the only habit he suggests we need to ditch in order to enjoy our food to its full potential.
The academic also advocates forgetting about knives and forks and using our hands when it comes to tucking into our favourite meals – a practice that is already common in many other cultures.
“The research shows that what you feel in the hand can change or bring out certain aspects of the tasting experience,” he said.
Prof. Spence is leading a team of researchers at the University of Oxford exploring the impact our senses can have on the perception of the food we eat.
So if anyone comments in the future about your table manners, you have the backing of science now.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.