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012 What is the Taste of your Tongue? (Pickle Series #5)

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Found this incredible print advertisement showcasing the yesteryear Bollywood superstar Dilip Kumar lending his likeness for ‘Mother India’ pickles!

The print ad has so many layers to analyse. But let's start with the headline: “The taste of your tongue is packed in this bottle”. Keeping aside the obvious alterations in the syntax due to translation, what if we took this sentence literally?

What does your tongue taste like?

Stop scrolling for a moment, and try this out with me:

Feel your tongue within your mouth. Is it resting towards the base of your mouth? Or is it slightly elevated? What happens when you curl it onto itself? What does that taste like? What happens when you touch the roof of your mouth with the base of your tongue? How does it feel to rub your tongue across the front of your teeth, across the tops of the crowns, and below the jagged edges of your teeth? Is your mouth wet or dry? How would you describe these textures, tastes and sensations?

Our tongues not only help us detect tastes - salty, sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, but they also facilitate texture and touch. As Krish Ashok elaborates in his book “Masala Lab”, we can distinguish between wetness and dryness, roughness and slipperiness, and viscosity amongst other properties which together create the overall experience of eating food (pg. 66). And our lovely tongue helps us in this journey.

And perhaps that is why eating pickles or achaar is such a concentrated, immersive experience. I love to bite into the thick skin of a lemon pickle. I love to chew on the remnants of the gutali that cling onto the piece of keri ka achaar (raw mango pickle). And I love to keep the pit of the gunda achaar in my mouth for many many minutes. So perhaps this print ad IS in the spirit of relishing delicious pickles.

Do you agree?

Image courtesy for print ad:

Tongue Image: Unsplash


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