11

votes

Why is crispy food desirable?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 22, 2011 at 12:16 AM

It seems to me like many people inherently find crispy food desirable: potato chips, tortilla chips, crackers, certain cookies, certain candies, grilled/fried meats, breaded fried chicken, bacon, toast, etc.

If true, then this would suggest crispy foods have some sort of evolutionary heritage in old (paleolithic) human diets? What would crispy food correlate with from the paleolithic? Otherwise, how would people's seeming preference for crispy foods be explained?

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:17 PM

I smell a troll...

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 24, 2012
at 06:44 PM

GOod crunchy item with natural salt = celery

Eea6a68f5a7190d13c60e1c72417a581

(1376)

on April 24, 2012
at 04:48 PM

Insects. Crisp, esp roasted. Salty w creamy centers. This is my pet theory on why we crave crisps and the like today.

9b2e3130786c8c33ae0ec7439c277e0f

(280)

on March 07, 2012
at 03:20 AM

I guess some poop could qualify as "crunchy." Ha.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on March 07, 2012
at 01:28 AM

This is a question about crispy food, feces rarely fits that description. Seriously, stay on topic poopy.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:25 PM

I think that's probably a good explanation. I find it fun to eat crispy foods for sure. There's just something about it. The quote also mentions naturally crispy foods to be somewhat devoid of calories (broccoli, celery) so maybe that's why people destroy bags of chips. Our subconcious brain may think it's crunchy so it's no big deal. That could be dangerous.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:20 PM

Scart and Deborah, yes; the reason salt came to mind is I have the same trigger. A.J., having said that, there's no reason *salt* has to be the associated nutrient for a particular person. It's whatever's in *your* database of associations. I just think for a lot of us it's salt, but for you, it might be sugar, or even something in the milk you added to the cereal. :)

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 22, 2011
at 12:56 PM

The skin is always a big hit at a pig picking, and it crunches like a crunchy thing

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 22, 2011
at 12:49 PM

Very interesting. I've never heard this theory, but now I will be more aware of how I feel correlates with food texture. 8)

Medium avatar

(572)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:22 AM

When I ate a lot of cereal I would pour the milk on and wait a bit for it to become soggy. Especially LOVED Grape Nuts once they were sogged up a bit. I'm like ben61820. Any others? :) For me, it's the salt on the chips and the sugar in anything!

Aa1d5fbb9d8051538161c9a03afd384e

(226)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:57 AM

Mmmm.. good try. But then, what about all the sweet sugary rich also deliciously crunchy breakfast cereals?!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:25 AM

I do indeed like crunchy stuff too but I actually really like soft mushy things like porridge, oatmeal, cottage cheese, too. Might sound weird but there's a lot of us out there;)

D064af8cab4e04cb5e1dea7b990f3948

(134)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:16 AM

Ding ding ding! I've found that when I'm craving crunchy, it's because I want the salt. Chips are my trigger food, as well as anything hot. Those 2 things *always* = salty.

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12 Answers

14
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 12:25 AM

I love evolutionary thinking, but I wonder if this might be a case of the brain associating a food texture with some nutritional quality -- the one that springs to mind is salt. Not too many people find unsalted rice cakes or unsalted matzohs satisfy the crunch desire, whereas chips, bacon, etc. fill the bill. It's possible that many cravings (aside from out-and-out addiction) spring from this unconscious database our brains build, associating flavors and textures with nutrient sources.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:20 PM

Scart and Deborah, yes; the reason salt came to mind is I have the same trigger. A.J., having said that, there's no reason *salt* has to be the associated nutrient for a particular person. It's whatever's in *your* database of associations. I just think for a lot of us it's salt, but for you, it might be sugar, or even something in the milk you added to the cereal. :)

Medium avatar

(572)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:22 AM

When I ate a lot of cereal I would pour the milk on and wait a bit for it to become soggy. Especially LOVED Grape Nuts once they were sogged up a bit. I'm like ben61820. Any others? :) For me, it's the salt on the chips and the sugar in anything!

Aa1d5fbb9d8051538161c9a03afd384e

(226)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:57 AM

Mmmm.. good try. But then, what about all the sweet sugary rich also deliciously crunchy breakfast cereals?!

D064af8cab4e04cb5e1dea7b990f3948

(134)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:16 AM

Ding ding ding! I've found that when I'm craving crunchy, it's because I want the salt. Chips are my trigger food, as well as anything hot. Those 2 things *always* = salty.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 24, 2012
at 06:44 PM

GOod crunchy item with natural salt = celery

9
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on June 22, 2011
at 12:28 AM

The taste of crispy animal fat/skin fresh off the spit is has a long history with the human palate...perhaps that's a starting point?

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 22, 2011
at 12:56 PM

The skin is always a big hit at a pig picking, and it crunches like a crunchy thing

6
2d5221fa80d04a3d8ac6f471f9feae81

(894)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:52 AM

Humans are unique in that we are evolutionary adapted to cooked food. Just think of all the flesh and plants treated with fire or hot coal. Lotta crust! Not to mention fresh fruit and vegetables. Even insects. I think we've been basically chasing our tongues' desires for the past 200'000 years. Anything crunchy, sweet, sour, burnt, salty, bitter - something that has an intense taste and/or smell leaves a big impression in our brains from the instant stimulation/gratification. Plus the intentional food engineering to increase taste stimulation for the past 4-5000 years.... We just have to learn to live with the fact that we're all addicts.

Also, having a life and getting most of your pleasure from it - human interactions, activities, hobbies - goes a loooong way to not being so dependable on food for providing satisfaction.

4
35a90b88abcbc66cd23632b2a88e56a4

on June 22, 2011
at 04:25 AM

I found this abstract from a essay at this site: 'http://aof.revues.org/index1458.html'. I think it answers your question.

"Conversely, I argue that the reason for why crispy foods are eaten in limited situations stems from its unique textural composition that usually tends to be light. The crunchy sensation produced when eating crispy foods evokes strong ideas of play, pleasure and delight. A bite into a crispy food arouses a sense of play as it allows for extended mastication and the use of the muscles around the mouth. Due to the lightness of the texture of crispy foods, large amounts need to be consumed in order that this food becomes substantially filling. Thus, these foods are never perceived to be ???real??? foods as such and, hence, are attributed peripheral status in the Tamil repertoire of foods. It must also be noted that the texture of crispy foods arouses emotions of play, pleasure and delight differently from other foods. These emotions stand in juxtaposition to those aroused when eating soft/wet foods; the latter, on the contrary, are not associated with play but with meeting a nutritional function, although they may be flavourful and, hence, delightful to the palate. Thus, crispy foods essentially perform the role of a relish at main meals, while they are central food elements only in the context of a snack -- an occasion for eating perceived not to provide nutrition but to appeal to the senses of play, pleasure and delight."

I believe this is the significance of crispy food.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:25 PM

I think that's probably a good explanation. I find it fun to eat crispy foods for sure. There's just something about it. The quote also mentions naturally crispy foods to be somewhat devoid of calories (broccoli, celery) so maybe that's why people destroy bags of chips. Our subconcious brain may think it's crunchy so it's no big deal. That could be dangerous.

3
A15af22bd729ec030e8f47d1189b6eaf

(774)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:19 AM

I'd go with Stephan Guyenets food reward theory here. Your brain has at some point in your earlier life, via superstimuli, simply learned that crispy texture (supposedly) means lotta nutritional value.

Regarding "many people". The preference for crunchy, roasted stuff seems to be especially prevalent in the States, back in good ol' germany we tend to go more for the tender, savoury stuff. But crisps, chips and cereal are getting more famous progressively. So i guess there is a cultural side to that, too.

2
Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

on June 22, 2011
at 12:30 AM

I took some classes at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC and there was a section on cravings- they have myriad causes, but it was generally stated that a desire for creamy foods can stem from sadness/a need for comfort and crispy/crunchy foods from anger/anxiety. This idea always stuck with me and I've found it to, personally, be quite accurate.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 22, 2011
at 12:49 PM

Very interesting. I've never heard this theory, but now I will be more aware of how I feel correlates with food texture. 8)

0
1877523d6c11bcdde3748737406426d6

on April 24, 2012
at 03:55 PM

I read somewhere that chewing oxygenates the brain.......so wonder if that has something to do with it? I like crunchy in salty and non salty....ie breakfasts and other foods, particularly snacks. I really like those Indian dried peas mix as well as brown rice crackers.

0
4f81c4f7ba3278cb59a856a79a1a7d3a

on March 07, 2012
at 01:19 AM

I like poop! It's very satisfying. Yummy, yummy, love in my tummy. ;)

9b2e3130786c8c33ae0ec7439c277e0f

(280)

on March 07, 2012
at 03:20 AM

I guess some poop could qualify as "crunchy." Ha.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on March 07, 2012
at 01:28 AM

This is a question about crispy food, feces rarely fits that description. Seriously, stay on topic poopy.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:17 PM

I smell a troll...

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on June 22, 2011
at 09:58 PM

Well I don't like many crispy and crunchy foods. They dry out my mouth which I hate, get bits and crumbs everywhere, and many are difficult to chew without poking my mouth. I don't even like my bacon crisp.

I do like raw veggies and crunchy fruits, because they have plenty of moisture.

I LOVE chewy, stringy, rubbery foods simply for the mouth feel, and always have. String cheese, beef jerkey, licorice, all meats but the chewier the better, al dente pasta, squid & octopus, large tapioca pearl - all favorite foods.

I wasn't raised eating many foods that were crispy except produce, since my mom cooked 3 meals a day, I never liked chicken skin and she didn't let us have junk/snack foods, that may have something to do with it.

0
959f383c71bb662d413c1e1d666c1730

on June 22, 2011
at 09:24 PM

I got to this discussion cause I was looking for an article I read once about why we like crunchy food. It said that crunchy food caused the skull to vibrate, which certain people find, well, stimulating sounds a bit too sexual, but they find it stimulating. Anyway, I'll keep on looking, and if I find it, will post it here.

0
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:29 PM

I'm with you on that! I've always had a need for crunchy things, including my veggies crunchy as well. I'm finally free of the need for crunchy chips and crackers.....but I make my own crackers now using soaked/dried nuts and I love to crumble them over my salad just for a treat.

yum, cripsy skin!!

0
1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:13 AM

i dunno the answer but im one of those people who could live off bland plain rice cakes all day. i love te fact that they go crunch and have no taste

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