Had an interesting conversation with my SO the other day and I've been pondering something ever since. He basically said that he doesn't have a memory for "taste". He can remember what something looked like, what it felt like in his mouth, and whether or not he enjoyed it, but he cannot recall the actual taste.
I am at the other end of the spectrum: I can recall flavors from childhood - from individual dishes - and I can also recall when and where and who cooked the food and the event and so forth. I actually salivate and can almost "feel" the food in my mouth.
I had never really thought, though, about whether or not this was normal.
After giving it some thought, I can definitely see why he and I approach food so differently. He tends to ask me to look at a menu item and tell him how it might taste - I can usually, based on the description, get a strong sensation of the flavors (though not the textures) and how they might meld. He also asks me to choose for him when we go to an "assemble your food to order" type place - he has no idea what tastes might go with others. I can usually make a very fast order in such a place because I can just "taste" what the flavors will become together and this has to be because I can recall prior tastes and combinations and then can imagine how they'd come together in a different concoction.
I'm also wondering if this ability to taste from memory is why I like food so much? It is because food is tangible to me that I tend to obsess over the next meal? Because I can - almost literally - "taste" it?