Tasteful Names

By Julie McDowall

Sarah tastes of grease, Donalds are rubber ducks dipped in vinegar... Julie McDowall has an unusual form of synaesthesia, which means that she can taste names. Want to know what yours tastes like? Now you can find out.

Food & drink | Humour
593% funded
104 supporters
Published

Publication date: TBC

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$8 
79 pledges

EARLY BIRD: Taste 1 name

Want to know what your name tastes of? Choose this level
$30 
29 pledges

EARLY BIRD: Taste 5 names

Do your friends taste of vinegary rubber ducks? Or perhaps they're gnomes filled with strawberry fondant. There's only one way to find out...Choose this level if you would like Julie to taste five names for you
$45 
2 pledges

EARLY BIRD: Taste with a friend

The unusual gift you never knew you wanted: get five names for yourself plus five names for your friend to choose
$60 

EARLY BIRD: buffet of names

Brighten up the dullest of meetings by telling everyone their name's taste. Also useful as a conversation starter at parties. Choose this level and Julie will taste 20-30 names for you
$75 

Recorded video

Up to 25 names in a short, recorded video.
$105 

EARLY BIRD: wedding - party

A veritable feast of names -- choose this level if you would like Julie to taste more than 50 names for you. There is no weirder wedding favour for your guests and no better way to get people to introduce themselves to one another at conferences, than for you to tell them their flavour and see what they think
$225 

Skype call

Julie will Skype live into your party/wedding/presentation/meeting for 15 minutes.
$750 

Patron

By day, Julie is a historian on nuclear threat and runs the podcast the Atomic Hobo. Support her work and she will offer you a Skype consultation/recording and up to 100 names, plus her eternal thanks

Frequently Asked Questions

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Every person who pledges to help to make a book gets their name included in a supporter section as a thank you. If you want to add a different name, this can be changed in your account after you have completed your pledge.

Still have a question? Visit our Help Centre to find out more.

We were in the greasy café when I made the greasy comment. I was only eight, but can still remember it so clearly. My aunt was pregnant. She was delighted. She was blooming! She was overjoyed! And so she treated me to chips and Coke at the Cross Café. Over the blue plastic table she suggested baby names, saying her favourite was Sarah. I screwed up my face. “Yuck!” I told her. “Sarah tastes of grease!” I was only a nipper, but I knew from her expression I had either said something silly or baffling – and now I know it was both.

As a wise and weary 30-something, I’m now aware that not everyone can taste the name, Sarah. Or the name Amanda, Walter, John and Alice or, indeed, any name. Only a tiny fraction of the population have my weird neurological quirk which allows me to “taste” a person’s name.  Its scientific name is lexical-gustatory synaesthesia although my friends just call it “that weird taste thing you have.”

I’ve come to realise that young mothers-to-be don’t want to learn their little darlings might taste of grease. Neither do Duncans want to know they reek of a smoky bacon burp, nor Donalds appreciate they are rubber ducks dipped in vinegar, but once they’re over the initial shock and confusion, they tend to laugh, tell their friends, then come back me with a gigantic list of requests. What does Susie taste like? What’s Colin? Rebecca? Alison?  Soon I’m backed into a corner, dishing out tastes, getting deliciously overwhelmed with sensations, images and odours which are often spectacularly weird. Long ago, I abandoned reserve and politesse, and can freely tell people they are little clapping hands made of wafer, edible kaleidoscopes, or garden gnomes filled with strawberry fondant. It’s the ultimate party trick. I’ve also found it’s a good way, on a first date, to make a man reach for his coat.

My name is Julie McDowall and I’m a nuclear journalist. I spend my working life dealing with the Cold War and the dreadful threat of thermonuclear war, and my writing is often grim, serious and unsettling. I may spend a day in some nuclear archives emerging with dusty hands and a horrified expression, so what a delight it is to climb on Twitter every now and then, and abandon all nuclear nightmares by saying, “Hey everyone, I can taste your name!” I can then spend a lovely half hour fielding questions from Debbies and Lauras and Josephs and Craigs, dishing out raw rubbery meat, sherbet, leather and shortbread, and enjoying their horror and hilarity. Great way to recover your spirits!

Now I want to take my weird skill beyond a Twitter hobby, and share it with you. If you’ve ever wondered what your name tastes like, if you’ve ever lain awake at 4am, staring at the ceiling and wondering you’re actually a gnome filled with cream, then have I got something for you!

 

I am using Unbound as a way to channel the many requests I've been receiving for name tastings. If you would like me to tell you, a friend, a dear family member or perhaps your entire office, what a name tastes like, simply pledge for it here and I will get back to you within a week.

Julie (in case you were wondering, my own name reminds me of eyes watering when you have hayfever)

What you need to know

  • Once you have pledged, you will receive a form from Unbound requesting details related to the pledge.
  • If you have pledged for one or multiple names, these will be delivered to you via email within approximately one week of you responding to the Unbound name-request form.
  • If you have pledged for the Skype consultation, you will receive an email from Julie to arrange a convenient time for this appointment.
  • If you have pledged for an audio recording of her saying your name or multiple names, this will be sent to you via email within approx one week of you submitting the Unbound name-request form.
  • If you have opted for the Skype consultation levels for an event, you should fill in the Unbound name-request form and enter that information in the "Other" section so that Julie can get in touch with you to arrange a convenient time and date.
  • Julie usually "tastes" first names but would also be happy to taste last ones, you Tinder date's, geographical locations, companies, pets' names...
  • You can pledge multiple times.
Buy

Quick select rewards

$8 
79 pledges

EARLY BIRD: Taste 1 name

Want to know what your name tastes of? Choose this level
$30 
29 pledges

EARLY BIRD: Taste 5 names

Do your friends taste of vinegary rubber ducks? Or perhaps they're gnomes filled with strawberry fondant. There's only one way to find out...Choose this level if you would like Julie to taste five names for you
  • Julie McDowall avatar

    Julie McDowall

    My name is Julie McDowall and I am obsessed with nuclear war. Born in Glasgow, I studied History there and graduated to a long and dismal career of call-centre work. I was bitterly unhappy, so my sister forced me to try online dating as way of getting me to dress up, go out, and maybe force a smile on my face. My dating stories were so strange that I began blogging about them and this led to a dating diary in a newspaper thanks to a generous editor with a wicked sense of humour. This then transformed into a career as a TV critic, which led me into book reviewing and finally opened a door into my obsession: writing about the nuclear threat. I have been lucky but maybe my good luck is tempered by never being able to say simple names without being assaulted by ducks, gnomes and little wafer hands.

    You can find me on Twitter @JulieAMcDowall or via my website at www.juliemcdowall.com

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  • Laurie Lama
    Laurie Lama asked:

    I couldn't find my name...I am just wondering if you could tell me what Laurie tastes like?

    Julie McDowall
    Julie McDowall replied:

    Hello, If you pay for one of the pledge levels then I'll be happy to respond. Julie

    Arin Malkomian
    Arin Malkomian asked:

    Hi, Just asking about time. I've been waiting for a week. Just want to know how long it takes. I understand if you have a lot to do. Greetings from Sweden Arin

    Julie McDowall
    Julie McDowall replied:

    Hello Arin, I believe I answered you today. Thank you for contributing. Julie