The crunch that results from teeth biting into a potato chip or the more subtle crumbling noise made by a cookie breaking under a molar, the crust of a loaf of giving way under a serrated knife, the sizzle of vegetables sautéed in a wok or of butter melting in a frying pan…
When it comes to food-related sensations, taste is the first thing that usually comes to mind, of course, closely followed by smell. However, auditory perceptions can also play a key role, given that cooking sounds can also whet an appetite.
The popularity of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos, in which food is sometimes used to produce the specific sounds that some listeners use to help them relax (and which some other individuals find irritating), is a perfect example.
Just as this approach to relaxation doesn’t have the same effect on everyone, the sounds of food being cooked or removed from its packaging don’t produce the same feeling of pleasure with everyone. A lot depends on the food involved.
A survey conducted in the United Kingdom set out to determine which food sounds make people happiest. For 63% of Britons questioned by One Poll for Cadbury, when food sizzles, crackles or crunches, the pleasure of eating it is enhanced. For 36%, it’s even comforting.
In fact, the favourite food-related sound effect among UK adults is something that sizzles (50%). The top example is the sound that bacon slices make when they make contact with a hot pan.
As the bacon twists and spits out drops of fat, the resulting crackling noise makes many impatient to get to the table. It was the top-ranked food-related noise of those surveyed (33%) for this unusual investigation.
Many participants said they had a similar satisfaction from the sound of steak cooking in a frying pan (25%) or from French fries being plunged into an oil bath (16%).
Meanwhile, on the sweet side, the snap of a chocolate bar is also pretty satisfying. Crunching was ranked the second most popular food sound effect (30%), followed by the sound of bubbling (20%) and fizzing (16%).
When it came to specific food sounds, popcorn popping appeals to 13% of palates, while the sound of biting into a crisp apple won the hearts of 16%.