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Old 02-22-2012, 10:11 AM   #1
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Are you a texture person?

we all know about certain factors of eating food such as it's presentation (you eat with your eyes first) and the way the food tastes, of course, but is a food's texture equally important to you as the first two?

i ask this because recently i've had three occasions where the texture of the dish came into play.

last night, i picked up scungilli fra diavolo and spaghetti. the scungilli is normally served over the spaghetti, but i asked for them to be put in seperate containers with just a little sauce on the pasta. when i went to pick it up, the chef owner asked me why i always order it this way if he puts the same sauce on both. i explained that i prefer pasta that isn't swimming in sauce, and that's what you get when the scungilli is served over top. thinking about it later, i realized that it was as much about the texture of the properly sauced pasta as it is being able to taste it seperately.

the second time was eating chinese food. i discussed with the lady who runs my favourite chinese joint about how many americans put their chinese food on top of their rice. she noticed that i eat my rice on the side, and i often order a small rice to go with the noodle dish that i order a lot, and i explained that the starchy rice compliments or cuts through the richness of the stir fried noodles. again, it's as much about texture as taste.

finally, and this is an easy one, my son tried liver recently for the first time. i tricked him by saying it was a calf steak,. he initially liked the flavour, but spit it out when he noticed the softer, mushier texture of the liver. i guess you can only get so far with onions and bacon on top.

so my question to everyone is how important is texture to you in your food?

do you eat liver? what about sushi or other raw fish like oysters? do you glop very moist/saucy/oily food on top of your rice or pasta?

is texture an equal part of your dishes along with presentation and taste? how would you rank the three?


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Old 02-22-2012, 10:26 AM   #2
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Mouthfeel is an integral part of how we percieve taste, so texture becomes at least as important as any other facet.

Most people spoil garden things by over-boiling them... if they are overboiled they have neither any sweetness or beauty. Hannah Glasse 1745
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:30 AM   #3
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I'd rank the three: Taste, texture, ................................................pr esentation.

(That's a distant third)

Let me qualify that. If it's a dish I'm familiar with, either because I make it or order it regularly, presentation is not so important as I already know and love the taste and texture. If it's a new food to me, then presentation becomes less distant.

I think in most cases, texture is something you expect to be a certain way and may be put off if it isn't. e.g. Muscle meat generally has an expected texture. Organ meat does too, but it's different from muscle meat (as your son discovered).

Of course, if it doesn't taste good, none of the rest matters. Even if it tastes great, an unexpected texture can diminish your enjoyment.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:45 AM   #4
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The only 3, or foods, that I don't care for, are solely because of the texture. I have eaten some funky stuff that I haven't cared for the flavor, but then the texture doesn't matter I suppose, but things like Orange Juice with pulp, I love OJ, but can't stand it with the pulp in it. Mushrooms, I appreciate the umami factor, but just the whole textural experience I can't get past.

Living in Hawaii, you learn a lot, really quick, about funky textures, and it is amazing to me how much Asian food involves that gelatinous/slimy/slippery qualities that many Americans are put off by.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
finally, and this is an easy one, my son tried liver recently for the first time. i tricked him by saying it was a calf steak,...
We used to tell my stepson, then six years old, that the entre wasn't the usual hated fish, but that it was "roughy shark." He wouldn't touch fish, but he happily bit a shark. He was nearly grown before he learned that there was shark, and there was orange roughy, and they did not interbreed.

so my question to everyone is how important is texture to you in your food?

do you eat liver? what about sushi or other raw fish like oysters? do you glop very moist/saucy/oily food on top of your rice or pasta?

is texture an equal part of your dishes along with presentation and taste? how would you rank the three?
Texture is somewhat important. But for me, it's secondary. I can't think of what texture I'd want or expect in a fresh oyster, other than than usual one. The texture is just part of the oyster. It's got a different texture when it's fried, and that's a part of the whole experience of a fried oyster in the same way. I do eat liver. It's a favorite. I stick to calves' liver and broil it after marinating in soy sauce. I think of the texture as close to a firm pate'. Which I suppose is why liver pate's are more common than other sorts. I don't perceive any texture problem at all with sushi. I can't see why it would be a problem. I think poor perceptions of sushi are purely problems with thinking about raw fish.

I generally keep rice and pasta largely separated from the major accompaniment, although being together in a bowl or plate is no problem. Part of that is appearance. Part is being able to take up and taste the components with them retaining much of their individual character. And I find that most combinations look better separate but one atop the other, rather than in separate spaces on a plate.

Texture matters, but I don't often consider texture consciously. It's just one quality of something, and that something is selected or used because of its whole character. But I'd say that taste can get by when texture or presentation is lacking. But no presentation and no texture can save bad tasting food.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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Texture is incredibly important for me. I will not eat even my all time fqavorite foods if texture just a little bit of. For example: it is very evident with noodles or rice when you either undercook or overcook either one of those. It is not as bad with meat, unless it is completelly messed up. One of my daughters like carrots in soup, but only if the were graded, if I chop them by hand, and believe I do chop finly, she will not touch them. Texture is incrdibly important. More so then looks and sometimes even the taste.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:30 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
so my question to everyone is how important is texture to you in your food?

do you eat liver? what about sushi or other raw fish like oysters? do you glop very moist/saucy/oily food on top of your rice or pasta?

is texture an equal part of your dishes along with presentation and taste? how would you rank the three?
1. Important. Without texture we might as well run everything through a food processor and end up with baby food. Different taste, different color, identical uniform texture.

2. Liver, yes. I love sushi and sashimi, not much interested in oysters.

I serve my rice on the side. I never put food on top of the rice. I eat Asian food with chopsticks. I like chopsticks because they facilitate picking up different bits of food with each bite instead of shoveling in a big amorphous mass for each bite. The mix of which bits I put in a bite constantly changes from bite to bite, changing taste and texture. Sometimes I pick up some meat/vegetables with my chopsticks and put it in my mouth and then pick up and add some rice to my mouth before chewing. I usually eat very little rice with my Asian food and IMO that's a good thing because I'd rather not eat huge amounts of starch.

It's funny I hear that Asians eat lots of rice and the meat is almost a seasoning for the rice. I have that upside down, eating mostly meat and little rice. Oh well, I'm not much for traditionalism anyway.

3. Taste, aroma, texture and color equal importance. Presentation somewhat important but not as important as getting the others right.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:36 AM   #8
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Excellent question. I've wondered this myself sometimes.

For me it is critical. I have lost part of my sense of smell so I rely a lot on texture and presentation. Think of pasta being al dente or being mushy. The difference is evident. I have been spoiled now and tend to return pasta that isn't cooked al dente as I've requested.

The softer mushy kind of food I usually think of are desserts (creme burlee, mousse, souffles etc...) and there usually I am not to fond of the softer rather the bit more texture filled and complex (usually with fruits added).

I am not too fond of organ food and or chinese food. But will have it every now and then just to add variety.

I recall being in Hong KOng once and being a visitor at a special event and we were in a rotating table given pigeon, snake, cat, dog, and monkey brain. All prepared very mushy... I just about passed out. I was begging for Dominos pizza after 10 minutes of this ... Oy
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:06 PM   #9
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Yup - texture matters. I always want some crunch with my meal - somewhere. A raw veg, crusty bread or similar and I also have a short list of texture violators - stuff I like the flavor of but can't quite get past the mouth feel.

Puddings with tapioca and/or rice are at the very top of this list followed closely by slightly undercooked custards. You know the kind; set but not firm.

No thanks.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:44 PM   #10
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Texture is definitely important to me. I can't think of any foods I won't eat just because of the texture though. The main thing for me is that it has the texture it is supposed to have. For instance, I don't want a mushy apple, but I also don't want a crunchy peach. If a food is supposed to be soft, I want it soft, if it is supposed to be smooth and runny (like gravy), I want it smooth and runny, if it is supposed to be crisp and crunchy (carrots, etc.), I want it crisp and crunchy.

The "right" texture is subjective of course. For instance, some only like their cooked vegetables if they have some crunch to them, while others like them to be cooked until they are completely soft.

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