Flinty and grassy with finesse and subtlety

From an essay on the culture and history of dirt-eating, often undertaken by pregnant women (presumably craving specific needed minerals), but until recently surprisingly widespread. “In the 1970s, fifty percent of Black women admitted to eating clay, about four times the frequency among white women …” I like the idea outlined below, of sniffing the soil and then tasting produce grown in it.

People living in San Francisco can find a soil tasting in a nearby art gallery; the rest of us can e-participate through a website (tasteofplace.info) run by performance artist and “agricultural activist” Laura Parker. Parker strives to answer the question “how does soil touch our lives and affect our food; and why does it matter?” To stimulate public dialogue, Parker fills wine goblets with various soils and adds a few teaspoons of water to release the aromas and flavors. The soils aren’t ingested, but participants place their noses deep into the wine bowls, inhaling the newly released molecules to the backs of their tongues, where taste receptors lie. The website even provides “Tasting Notes,” such as the soil of “Apple Farm-Indian Camp Ground, ‘Arrowhead Reserve,'” which has a “texture like ground espresso between your fingertips with a rich, chocolate color. The nose is both flinty and grassy with finesse and subtlety.” After the soil tasting, participants dine on food grown in the various soils and identify the qualities of the dirt in the food to strengthen the connection between what we eat and where it’s grown.

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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