Taste. It seems obvious that taste is one of the five senses that social media will have the most difficulty recreating, at least in my lifetime. I can take photographs of simple white plates elaborately arranged with deconstructed morsels of protein covered with foamed butter or salmon, beef wellington wrapped in mushrooms and a delicate outer puff pastry, or a rich, dry, full-bodied glass of French Bordeaux, but no one will ever know the true flavor and taste experience of that moment in time.
One of the first things I scrambled to find when I arrived in French Polynesia was my favorite Polynesian dish, poisson cru.I salivated in anticipation. I was in heaven the moment that I delicately chomped into the mixture of raw tuna, tossed with diced tomatoes, onions, and cucumber, and dressed with lime and coconut milk. Paradise had arrived. I wanted everyone to know this wonderful taste sensation, but there was no way to share the essence of this moment with my friends on the other side of the world.
I realized no one could truly know the juice and sweetness of a freshly picked Pamplemousse, a variety of grapefruit, unless you are standing by the tree. No one could truly taste the rich bitter saltwater spray as you lick your lips in the bright sunshine. No one could truly experience the sticky sweetness of milk from a freshly cracked coconut. Again, I was unable to fully share the tastes of the South Pacific.
When I get back home, I am going to try my best to recreate my favorite Polynesian fish dish. I’ll check out a social media site, such as Epicurious, to find tips for the best ingredients and their proper proportions. Even with this help, I believe it will not taste quite the same. The ingredients may be the same, but the conditions in which they were cultivated will be different. Can I recreate the taste of the South Pacific through social media? I don’t think so. Unfortunately, I will need to travel to the islands to find the best poisson cru… damn!