"While we worked together that wintry November afternoon, kneeling side by side on straw mats, Hyeon Hee mentioned that Koreans traditionally make a distinction between ‘tongue taste’ and the ‘hand taste’ of a food. Hand taste? I was beginning to have my doubts about the translator. But as Hyeon Hee elaborated on the distinction, while the two of us gently and methodically massaged spice into leaf, the notion began to come into rough focus.
Tongue taste is the straightforward chemical phenomenon that takes place whenever molecules make contact with taste buds, something that happens with any food as a matter of course. […]
Hand taste, however, involves something greater than mere flavor. It is the infinitely more complex experience of a food that bears the unmistakable signature of the individual who made it—the care and thought and idiosyncrasy that that person has put into the work of preparing it. Hand taste cannot be faked, Hyeon Hee insisted, and hand taste is the reason we go to all this trouble, massaging the individual leaves of each cabbage and then folding them and packing them in the urn just so. What hand taste, I understood all at once, is the taste of love.”
-Michael Pollan, Cooked.