You’re a decent chef, and you’ve got a few meals down pat. You make a mean stir-fry, tasty spaghetti and meatballs and, when you put your mind to it, your breakfast sandwiches are way better than anything you could get in a drive-thru.
To others, your culinary rotation is pretty good, laudable even, but to you, it’s the usual; nothing fancy. That’s because food is always better when someone else makes it for you. (Like tacos from Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. Just sayin’.)
But why is that? Assuming you were a five-star chef (which most of us are not), if you and another five-star chef both made a meal, why would theirs taste better? Are they using some sort of secret sauce? Is everyone in on this but you?
No. Here’s the reason courtesy of psychologist Daniel Kahneman:
“When you make your own sandwich, you anticipate its taste as you’re working on it. And when you think of a particular food for a while, you become less hungry for it later. It’s a kind of specific satiation, just as most people find room for dessert when they couldn’t have another bite of their steak. The sandwich that another person prepares is not ‘preconsumed’ in the same way.”
Our lives have been a lie. This is completely contrary to what you would expect, especially since studies have shown that when you picture yourself enjoying food, it increases saliva production and prompts a desire to eat it. (Try it right now with our tacos. Works, doesn’t it?)
Smart people over at Carnegie Mellon University believe the answer stems from the fact that extended exposure to a stimulus (fancy word for sandwich) actually decreases the physiological and behavioral response (fancy words for nom nom). Basically, watching yourself make a sandwich over time gets you less excited for said sandwich. It’s the same principle that explains why your third slice of cake isn’t as enjoyable as the first slice. That, and because that’s a lot of cake.
So with this in mind, if you want to enjoy a meal to its maximum extent, do so by eating something someone else made. Coincidentally, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop offers an array of delicious Baja-style foods, all cooked for you, not by you.
Shameless plug aside, you know where to find us.