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Old 03-09-2008, 07:32 PM   #1
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Strange ingredients with common counterparts...why use them?

I'm sure there are valid reasons, but I don't know what they are. I don't want to experiment with the "gourmet" versions of common things just yet, since I'm still learning the common things :-P But:

Why would you use a quail egg instead of a chicken egg?
Why would you use "Wild Boar Sausage" instead of just a pork sausage?
Why would you use truffles at all (I'm not really fond of truffles)

To me, those ingredients sound like the cook is saying "hey, look at me, I know how to cook gourmet", instead of "I love cooking". I'm hopefully wrong, but can someone tell me why?

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Old 03-09-2008, 07:42 PM   #2
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Why would you use grape jelly on your PB&J instead of strawberry? The answer is the same for the questions you asked. They taste different.
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Old 03-09-2008, 07:45 PM   #3
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That's true, I suppose (A big disclaimer about this thread is I've yet to actually eat any of these things). But I'd be worried that someone who's just in to try some good food would be confused with the additions, and maybe the new taste would be lost? Like, do they taste as different as grape vs. strawberry jelly, or is it more subtle?

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Old 03-09-2008, 07:49 PM   #4
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Well I have only had the sausages. I do not eat eggs and have not had the opportunity to try truffles so I can't speak to the subtleties of those two.

With the sausages though, it really depends on the different sausages themselves. You could have two pork sausages that taste completely different from each other and they are both pork. If you have a pork sausage and a wild boar sausage well they may be vastly different from each other or they may be very similar. It depends on how they are made and the particular animal they came from.
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:57 PM   #5
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You would use/eat ANY of these things you mentioned because you CAN. Expand your culinary adventures! I'm not sure why these ingredients would be "confusing". I eat/taste new things for the adventure. Sometimes I like what I taste and sometimes I can live without it - ever again!

I have had rattlesnake and rabbit sausage and I can tell you it was VERY different from pork sausage or any other kind of sausage. Bison sausage is again very different. And actually, the taste of both was not strong, but, much more subtle than a lot of other sausages I have had.

As GB said, it's the taste difference. No one can tell YOU what something is going to taste like and have it be accurate. I LOVE balsamic on strawberries - the first time my husband had this I thought he was going to spit it out.
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:24 AM   #6
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It isn't only the taste difference. It is also the look/style of a dish. An appetiser that has a halved boiled quail's egg on it looks a lot more dainty and appealing that half a chicken's egg. As to taste, I couldn't taste sufficient difference between the two to warrant the extra expense UNLESS I was going for the look. (I have tinned cats food that has half a quail's egg per can. That is purely for looks and purely for the owner. It is just being showy and a complete waste. My cats certainly weren't impressed. I didn't realise that's what I would be getting in the can before anyone says anything!! It was the same price as the other varieties!)

The same can be said for the difference in sausages. A textured, interesting looking sausage will be much more attractive on the plate and much more visually stimulating to the diner than your normal ol' bbq sausage.

A good truffle will add another dimension to a dish but sadly, a lot of meals that claim truffles only have such a minor amount or use an inferior oil etc that it is only being showy.

As the others have said, personal taste and opinion comes into it a lot. And to you these ingredients might sound as alternative choices but if I was a quail farmer, a chicken egg would be the alternate to me, not the other way around! Perspective drives some choices as well. We flog "Kanga Bangers" over here and expound on all the health benefits for them but the driver behind it isn't our health, purely our over-abundance of part our national emblem!

I'm mean to me, why would you have jam/jelly with peanut butter at all??? Ewwwww!!!!!
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crono760 View Post
That's true, I suppose (A big disclaimer about this thread is I've yet to actually eat any of these things). But I'd be worried that someone who's just in to try some good food would be confused with the additions, and maybe the new taste would be lost? Like, do they taste as different as grape vs. strawberry jelly, or is it more subtle?

Mike

If you haven't tried any of these things, how can you have an opinion about them?

You haven't tried truffles but you already know you don;t like them and wonder why one would use them at all?
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Old 03-10-2008, 04:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crono760 View Post
I'm sure there are valid reasons, but I don't know what they are. I don't want to experiment with the "gourmet" versions of common things just yet, since I'm still learning the common things :-P But:

Why would you use a quail egg instead of a chicken egg?
Why would you use "Wild Boar Sausage" instead of just a pork sausage?
Why would you use truffles at all (I'm not really fond of truffles)

To me, those ingredients sound like the cook is saying "hey, look at me, I know how to cook gourmet", instead of "I love cooking". I'm hopefully wrong, but can someone tell me why?

Because: Quail eggs taste very different than chicken eggs and they're much smaller, giving the dish an unusual look.
Because: Boar sausage tastes very different than pig sausage. Boar is wild so the meat is much leaner and much richer.
Because: Just because you yourself don't like truffles doesn't mean they not a great tasting food. I love truffles. I love the earthy taste and aroma than you can't get from any other mushroom.
Truffles, boar sausage, and qual eggs have nothing to do with "gourmet." Frankly, I don't think anyone really knows what the heck "gourmet" means anyway. What is a gourmet hot dog? Hmmm makes ya wonder doesn't it??
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:24 PM   #9
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Crono - I think the easiest way to answer part of your question is to suggest you read through a thread we had on what is gourmet some time back.

As others have said - we prepare and eat different foods because life with only one protein, one vegetable and one carbohydrate always prepared the same way with the same minimal seasoning of salt and pepper would be very dull.

Yes, some flavor differences are subtle - some are very pronounced, and the flavor differences that are discernible with one method of preperation can be totally lost with another. And, the same thing prepared in the same way with just a minor tweak and make a significant difference in the flavor - for example something like beef stew where the only difference is if you braise the meat in water or beef stock.
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:51 AM   #10
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Quail eggs, because of their size, are mostly utilized in fine dining as a garnish and as portion control. When serving a 7 course tasting menu, a whole chicken egg is kind of out of the question; and yes, their are subtle differences in taste.

Wild Boar Sausage, and the meat of wild boar itself, will taste totally different than your average farm raised pork. 1) Because the diet is different, 2) they are a different species, 3) and most important, wild boar is able to roam free and get exercise. The more an animal is allowed to exercise, the more myoglobin their blood cells contain, translating to a darker color in meat and much more flavor.

Cooking with Truffles. Ahhh, the wonders of truffles. The sad thing is, most people (and restaurants) that cook with truffles, never really get to fully experience them because the go the cheap route and buy canned, frozen or otherwise inferior truffles. Good truffles will cost you upwards of $750 for a quarter pound. Why are they so great. One word, Umami. Umami is said to be the elusive 5th taste sensory experience, also known as savory. Ever noticed how taking a bite of sauteed mushrooms and steak at the same time will actually make the steak taste better? This is because mushrooms contain a small amount of umami and actually bring out the savory flavor in the steak itself. True truffles are like umami rich mushrooms on steroids. By themselves they really aren't that spectacular, but used properly in a dish, they will really elevate it to the next level.
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