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How Good it All Tastes

I watched Ats 1.08 “I Will Remember You” the other day. Naturally, I spent most of the episode bouncing between amused, annoyed at Angel’s behaviour, and wishing Angel would please relocate his shirt now thank you, before the end when it became a mix of “cute!” and wanting to cry because of Buffy.

But then, after I got through with all of that, I started thinking about Angel’s attitude about how 'food tastes awesome!' and how he "..forgot how good it all tastes when you're alive."

Buffy comments that, as a vampire, Angel’s sense of taste would be duller than a human’s.

The sense of taste is mostly just smell. Without scent, taste basically breaks down to the six basics (e.g. sweet, salty, spicy) and that’s it. But vampires are known for having very strong senses of smell.

I mean, earlier in the episode, Angel tracks the Mohra demon through the sewers by the scent of its spilled blood. Spike has followed days old trails all across Sunnydale.

So, how can vampires have poor senses of taste?

And why is Angel the only one who seems to?

While not always a reliable source, Drusilla does talk about eating food. And Spike clearly does so. Harmony consumes large quantities of sugar. So they must have some sense of taste.

I can think of two explanations, but both of them seem kind of like I’m stretching.

The first would be that, because a vampire has such a powerful sense of smell, their ability to taste is completely divorced from scent. Basically meaning they can tell if something is spicy or sweet, but not much else.

This may explain the eating behaviours of both Spike and Harmony. Sugar on sugar, extra spicy, taking things to excess. If they can’t taste the differences in flavour, they may just go all in.

This would also explain why the idea of chocolate and peanut butter wasn’t worth explaining. It would be a very basic sweet plus sweet plus salty.

For me, I don’t think this explanation clarifies why vampires are so picky about the different bloods they drink, however. If salty is salty, then why should it matter if the blood is from someone older, or from a less-than-human source?

The only other idea I’ve come up with so far is that a vampire’s sense of taste actually isn’t duller than a human’s. It’s sharper.

Like, a lot.

As it logically should be, a vampire has a considerably better ability to taste, the same as they have a better sense of smell.

The reason Angel doesn’t find normal human foods appealing is because he can taste. Too a ridiculous extent.

If all vampires are supertasters (probably more like super-supertasters), then they it seems likely that they wouldn’t be that interested in human food. I mean, think of all the different ingredients in a single dish, in a snack. Eating human food could be simply too overwhelming, which would be why very few vampires indulge in it.


That would fit for Spike, the adrenalin junkie. Did he eat human food before the chip? Oh, yeah - cocoa with mini-marshmallows.
Hmmm, do I remember most vampires rejecting food because 'It's too human', or was that from a fanfic?

Angel drinks coffee. Quite a bit of it. And that's a very strong taste. (I noticed because of all the fanfics that go on about how Angel never consumes human food.) I lean to the side of dead taste buds, but probably because that's the explanation in every single fanfic. If you took it the other way, it would be interesting and fresh and new!

Any way you look at it, how a vampire works is a complete mystery. Erections? Biological process, shouldn't happen. How does blood goes in the stomach but end up as energy without digestion? (Husband says they have straw teeth which siphon blood straight into their veins, hee.) Bagged blood? It shouldn't work for vamps, since they're meant to be drinking the mystical 'life force'. Bagged blood is dead. The taste/smell issue is just one more conundrum. How well vampire senses work seems to be dependent on the plot du jour, anyhow.

If you want things to make sense, you get to fanwank it however you decide. :P This is a mythical universe controlled by capricious PTB who didn't even try to be consistent within their own decrees, never mind with each other. :)
I think Angel (as a vampire) eats a total of two times... I may be wrong since this is off the top of my head, but I remember Cordelia bugging him into eating waffles with her and the apple Eve gives him.

There's also the time when that old man switched bodies with him. So the man ate, but Angel didn't...

No, the coffee thing bugs me because in 3.20 "The Prom" Angel says he doesn't drink coffee, and then a few episodes later, he's annoyed that they're out and wants some more right now, Cordelia! Isn't this your job?!

I keep trying to make sense of how vampires do anything without a heartbeat, but I always have to go back to "it's magic. Stop thinking about it."

Is it ever said that they don't digest? Or that blood actually goes to their stomachs? I mean, following human biology it should, but there has to be some sort of magic in the whole demon-transformation thing. Maybe more is going on to their insides beyond the ability to rearrange their faces.

I doubt I'd write a story focused solely on vampires tasting things (though, I did write one focused on smell), but I can't say my random thoughts won't pop up somewhere down the line.

((Sorry I keep editing this. Fuck you, italics brackets! Go in your goram bracket places!))

Edited at 2013-07-07 05:49 am (UTC)

It's the little details that make the story. You don't know how long I've agonized over otherwise inconsequential trivia.

Angel is a very different vampire over on his show, isn't he?

August 2015



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