Monday, January 30, 2012

Disgust: One of the Six Basic Emotions

In the last several years there has been an explosion of research on disgust. Disgust is one of the six basic emotions—along with joy, surprise, anger, sadness and fear—but it is the only one that has to be learned, which suggests something about its complexity.

Recently I am learning a lot about this basic emotion, but not in the context of food.
Among the most hard-core variants of fermented food is the Icelandic delicacy hákarl. Hákarl is made from the Greenland shark, which is indigenous to the frigid waters of Iceland. It is traditionally prepared by beheading and gutting the shark and then burying the carcass in a shallow pit covered with gravelly sand. The corpse is then left to decompose in its silty grave for two to five months, depending on the season. Once the shark is removed from its lair, the flesh is cut into strips and hung to dry for several more months.
Hákarl has a pungent, urinous, fishy odor that causes most newbies to gag. 
Tastes like chicken? No, it doesn't.
An extremely acquired taste, hákarl was described by the globe-trekking celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain as "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he had ever eaten.
Funny, I know some political candidates that same description could be applied to.  And certain people who insist we eat something we really do not want.

h/t Althouse

Update:   Joy and surprise beats disgust any day.
Update II:   Ace of Spades has a story on micro emotions and the "seven" basic emotions

2 comments:

  1. After a lovely dinner of hákarl, how about some chloroform-laced opal candy? Casey Anthony never had it so good!

    And then there's Brennivin with enough methanol to blind you--good thing the antidote to methanol is ethanol!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tastes like chicken? No, it doesn't.

    I resemble that remark

    ReplyDelete

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