Smelling your food before you eat it in Food Traditions & Culture Posted June 27, 2011 When someone puts a plate of food in front of me, my first action is to lean forward slightly, and inhale deeply. The sort of action one might see at a normal dinner table immediately followed by an "Mmmm! That smells great!" The idea that this might be offensive to the host is odd to me. I do engage in phase II smelling, which I admit may be more questionable: just before eating the first bite off my fork, I do the same deep inhalation. I think there is a clear social difference between the sniffing action one makes when investigating potential spoilage, versus one appreciating the aroma of the food. Then again, I appear to have offended Fat Guy, so maybe it's not so clear after all!you are braver than me Chris! or maybe you routinely eat higher quality food... i start with a much more tentative sniff. i only inhale deeply once that 'sniff test' comes out positive !the smelling part is an integral part of enjoying the food, though. it gets all the senses primed for the actual eating!