When it comes to food, almost all rules are made to be broken. We love different flavours and aromas, and so we continue to innovate and take risks in the kitchen. Be it ice creams or curries, chips or meats, our conversations often revolve around the taste and smell of the food we eat. And although we do like to mention its texture and feel as well, it doesn’t usually go beyond that. Not many of us know, but texture is a huge affair and it actually has a science behind it. 

Ever heard of the term ‘food rheology’? It is the study of the rheological properties of food that includes its consistency and flow under specified conditions. “Rheology studies the flow and deformation of matter and is an important tool to characterise fundamental material properties of food systems. Fluid mechanics is the foundation of food rheology and the correlation of stress and strain can be used to describe rheological properties of food systems in different models,” reads an excerpt from the ScienceDirect journal. Experts are also of the opinion that although taste and smell are more sensorial, textural awareness often happens at a subconscious level. 

So, let’s look a little deeper into the different textures of food that we experience, over and above the shape, colour, flavour and fragrance of food. Here’s your quick guide.

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 Crispy

Possibly one of the most favourite textures when it comes to food, everybody loves to munch on crispy items - be it crispy chicken or simply crispy wafers. The crispy texture can be defined as the dry, rigid feel of the food. But there is a difference between naturally crispy textures of food items and those that have a crispy coating.  Lettuce, for instance, comes with a light crispy texture, but when it comes to meat, it’s mostly the coating that we are talking about.   

Crunchy

Think of crunchy food and some of the first things that come to our mind are chips, crackers and the other fried and roasted stuff. The basic characteristics of crunchy food items can be described as dense and chewy. When eaten using the molar teeth, these foods make sharp or relatively high and low-frequency sounds - something that we call the crunchiness.

Smooth

Soft, easy-to-bite texture, devoid of any lumps qualify as smooth food. Puréed pasta, noodles and rice can often pass off as smooth food, while yoghurt, butter, banana, ice cream and avocado may be categorised under smooth and creamy food. These items are usually comforting to consume and are loved by people from all age groups. Smooth and creamy food is satisfying for the palate too.

 

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Crumbly

Biscuits and cookies are often found to be crumbly, brittle-textured and dry. Be it strawberry crumble or chicken crumble, it is seen that people love the easily broken texture of certain food items. For making crumbly pastries, shortening - a dairy product which remains solid at room temperature - is used. This along with fats and oils go into doughs and batters to bring in the crispy and crumbly texture of baked goodies. 

Watery

Be it soup or a runny egg, watery food items have their own fanbase. The most typical characteristic of watery food items is that they are easy to digest and are almost always comforting. And they are healthy too. For instance, broths and soups have the potential to be very nutritious and hydrating at the same. They help to keep our tummy full and improves our gut health.