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What Foods Hold Special Appeal Because of Their Texture? Lucky Charms Cereal, Croissant, Popcorn–What Else?

What Foods Hold Special Appeal Because of Their Texture? Lucky Charms Cereal, Croissant, Popcorn–What Else?

For my book about the five senses, I’ve been thinking about the sense of touch, and it occurred to me that certain foods are appealing in large part because of their texture.

For instance, Lucky Charms cereal. As a child, I loved the contrast between the  texture of the regular cereal and the marshmallow bits. In fact, I wonder if texture is a big part of the appeal of many breakfast cereals...how the milk gradually alters the cereal's crunch to the precise level of delightful sogginess.

At Winstead's, my family's favorite diner in my hometown of Kansas City, they serve the best crushed ice anywhere. The texture is so satisfying!

I was curious to see other people's suggestions about wonderful combinations of food and texture. Answers included:

  • croissant—flaky, buttery, with crunchy exterior with a chewy interior
  • the slippery pop of peas, grapes, edamame
  • sushi
  • ripe peach
  • pudding
  • aged cheddar cheese with crystals
  • perfectly toasted marshmallow—others prefer burned
  • crunchy granola over smooth yogurt
  • popcorn
  • watermelon
  • red wine
  • bubble tea
  • liquid-filled chocolates
  • Simply Cheetos White Cheddar Puff
  • pão de queijo—Brazilian cheese bread, with a crusty exterior and chewy interior
  • apple pie
  • chips or Pringles that are doubled up
  • the bottom of an ice cream cone—crunchy, slightly soggy, with softened ice cream

One commenter mentioned Pop Rocks candy. I love Pop Rocks—not for the taste (Pop Rocks just taste sweet), but for the fizzy feeling they make in my mouth. It’s such a surprise to see the candy “rocks” sit quietly in my palm, then hear and feel them popping in my mouth. For pure fun, even though I don't eat sugar anymore, I did buy a pack and put a pinch into my mouth—and for a moment, felt like a fourth-grader again.

Sometimes, texture trumps taste. Circus Peanut candy doesn't taste very good, but it has an interesting dense yet fluffy texture. (Weirdly, though orange colored, called "peanut," and peanut-shaped, it's banana-flavored.)

From the answers, I was interested to see that some people really enjoyed a mix of textures, like tacos, while other preferred consistent textures, like mashed potatoes.

That explains why some people like crunchy peanut-butter, and some people prefer smooth; why some people like ice cream with bits of nuts, cookies,  or candy mixed in, and others prefer their ice cream straight up.

Is there a better name for this distinction of "Mixed vs. Consistent?" And which are you?  I'm definitely "Consistent."

I was also interested to see that whether ingredients are mixed (grilled cheese sandwich) or consistent (brownie), many people love a crispy, crunchy exterior combined with a gooey interior.

What other foods hold special appeal for you because of their texture?

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