I WAS fascinated to read an article about food preferences in different areas of Britain. Apparently these 'taste dialects' are formed by local culture, geography and environment.

Researchers at Nottingham University say that it is not only accents which pinpoint where we come from.

We have also developed enhanced sensitivities to certain taste sensations and seek foods that trigger our common food tastes.

My own food memories from my roots in the Midlands extend to tripe and onions which my grandad ate (his house stank while it was cooking), pork scratchings in pubs and black pudding for breakfast.

We didn't eat any of these at home (thank goodness) but my mum cooked a mouth-watering stew and dumplings and a great bread pudding - wonderful comfort food wherever you live.

Apparently we Brummies share a liking for soft foods that 'impact the front of the tongue, have a slightly sweet dimension and can be eaten with the hands'.

Of course! Cadbury's chocolate, I thought, when I read the research.

But no, it is curries and naan bread which were introduced a few decades ago by Asian immigrants and which apparently now tickle my relatives' taste buds.

The south west goes for apples, Scots like rich, creamy foods (porridge?) and in Wales they share a love of onions, leeks and Worcestershire sauce. In the East End it is, of course, jellied eels. We could have spared the researchers' time and effort in finding this out.

Is there a distinct taste dialect in Hillingdon? I've lived here for many years and I can't think of one.

Many communal tastes are simply traditional. Last week was bonfire night and I have happy memories of baked potatoes, sausages and steaming hot soup eaten round our bonfire. [25cf] GOOD NEWS: Isn't it great that we now have a tourist shop in the Mall Pavilions shopping centre? I wrote a piece last year in which I moaned about finding it difficult to buy a picture postcard with local scenes in Uxbridge.

Now Sheena Rosser is selling stock which includes all sorts of goodies with a local flavour, from tea towels to mugs, notelets and cards. There's even ribbon which says 'a little gift from Uxbridge'. I intend to stock up for Christmas ASAP.