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Old 02-22-2012, 03:52 PM   #11
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I think that texture may be taken for granted more often than not. You don't realize how much it really matters until you take a bite of cannoli with a soggy shell, shrimp that has been added to gumbo/jambalaya 25 minutes before it is served, flan that has been over cooked and on and on. Even if taste is there, the food is just not enjoyable.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:10 PM   #12
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Olives..

I like the oil. I usually like the flavor they add to a dish, but I won't eat em. The texture is all wrong for my teeth.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:25 PM   #13
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I forgot to mention that many Asian stir fry recipes include a variety of textures in a single dish. Kung Pao for example, the dried chili pods, crispy water chestnuts, crunchy peanuts (if they're done right, toasted), plus whatever chicken, pork, shrimp, beef, etc. as the main ingredient. This is particularly more noticeable when you use chopsticks and select individual items to bite, or mix various combinations of two or more.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:29 PM   #14
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I'd rank its importance higher than smell. If you list a person's food likes/dislikes, many of those dishes/ingredients can be grouped by textural similarity.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:32 PM   #15
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I haven't read the rest of this line, which I will eventually. But since it is an opinion, yes, I think texture is very important, even to people who think it isn't. For example, the many forms of pasta that are made with the same ingredients. I happen to like mine fine and small (in other words, angel hair beats thick spaghetti; a small elbow macaroni beats a huge stuffed shell). That's just me. I don't hate the others, just not my favorites. I've actually tried, really tried, to like raw oysters and clams (I come from a New England family who think they're great), but will eat raw tuna and some others in a heartbeat and enjoy it.

This is all about texture.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:36 PM   #16
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I'd rank its importance higher than smell. If you list a person's food likes/dislikes, many of those dishes/ingredients can be grouped by textural similarity.
My sense of smell goes "off" periodically. Went really haywire a few years ago. I lost 40 lbs. Don't get me wrong, I needed to lose it. But it was a very, very unpleasant experience. Smell ranks, for me, higher, much higher, than taste and texture. Been there. Easy to say that smell isn't that important, until every single thing you cook smells like crap. You don't want to cook, you don't want to eat.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:42 PM   #17
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My sense of smell goes "off" periodically. Went really haywire a few years ago. I lost 40 lbs. Don't get me wrong, I needed to lose it. But it was a very, very unpleasant experience. Smell ranks, for me, higher, much higher, than taste and texture. Been there. Easy to say that smell isn't that important, until every single thing you cook smells like crap. You don't want to cook, you don't want to eat.
This is true for me too (although not as much as taste), and it was particularly true for me when I was pregnant. I had to stop eating one store's brand of ground beef because I couldn't stand the smell of it cooking when I was pregnant.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:47 PM   #18
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+1 on the importance of smell, Claire. It's impossible to actually taste food if your sense of smell is shot. When it comes to discerning flavors, your tastebuds and nose may as well be one organ.

Spork, while you raise a pretty good point, I think you overstate it. That grouping will take place because people identify their food biases through site, primarily. The question is, in a blind taste test, would they still reject those foods on the basis of texture? Obviously, without performing such a test, there's no way of telling.

But here's an indicator. Friend Wife insists that she doesn't like eggs. Can't abide them. As it turns out, however, what she dislikes are eggs that look like eggs. Mixed into other dishes, even raw, as in a Ceasar dressing, she'll eat them just fine.

If I were to blindfold her, and have her taste, say, some scrambled eggs, would she reject them? I suggest not.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:49 PM   #19
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My understanding of taste and smell is that you can only taste bitter, salty, sweet and sour (and some say a fifth umami taste), and I understand (perhaps incorrectly) that all the variations of taste we perceive in food are due to our sense of smell being combined with taste. If that is true then it's easy to understand why disturbances or loss of sense of smell can so profoundly affect the taste of food.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:13 PM   #20
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I concede to Claire & Brook. Smell is more important.
I've actually witnessed a blind smell test of sorts. A person who doesn't like onions was blindfolded. She ate a raw onion while a vial of pungent chemicals duplicating the smell of apples was positioned under her nose. Not only did she enjoy the bite, she swore she ate an apple! I guess smell is so complex and unconscious that we, I, do take it for granted. Something either smells good or not.
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