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Old 12-04-2006, 11:47 PM   #1
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Location: Singapore
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Taste vs flavor - the Diff

Most people use both words interchangeably. But there's a basic difference. Simply put, we taste with our mouths but distinguish flavors with our nose.

Skeptical? Just pinch your nose when tasting apple puree and onion puree by turns. You probably can't tell the difference until you release your nostrils.

This is because flavor is registered by the olfactory bulb behind the nose and info is passed on to the brain. Pinching the nostrils denies air to the olfactory bulb and therefore blocks any information.

The olfactory bulb can distinguish between thousands of different flavors but the mouth can only distinguish five tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and 'umami'). Umami ('delicious' in Japanese) is the savoury taste abundantly present in mushrooms, seaweed, fish, marmite, and other substances. Umami is the taste of MSG.

(The above was paraphrased and summarised from my readings. Thought it interesting enough to share with you. )


'Never eat more than you can lift.' - Miss Piggy
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Old 12-05-2006, 01:10 AM   #2
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So that's why people hold their noses when they have to eat something unpleasant or take medication. I just thought it was drama!

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Old 12-06-2006, 11:04 AM   #3
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I picked up "Land of Plenty" by Fuchsia Dunlop last year and it's absolutely amazing. She was the first foreigner to be admitted to the cooking school in Chengdu, and her book is the best I've found on Sichuan cuisine. It's amazing how detailed the Chinese are on the definitions of flavor, taste, and texture. Actually having different words for various degrees and types of crispy/crunch such as that of a blanched green bean, fried batter, or crackling skin of a duck.

I haven't cooked much out of it yet (hopefully I'll get to it in a year or two), but I have an immense amount of respect for Sichuan cuisine - on the same level as French.
Nick ~ "Egg whites are good for a lot of things; lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and clogging up radiators." - MacGyver
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:37 PM   #4
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Alls I know is taste is what they say I don't got none of.
"'Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." - Michael Pollan

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