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Old 11-11-2010, 04:43 PM   #1
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Dictionary of Taste Texture

A collective DC compilation to try and define taste textures.

What is "crunchy?" A potato chip, a radish, surely the two are very different textures, yet we often use the same term. It would help our cooking discussions, and kitchen endeavors, to have a more common reference. How does it differ from "crispy?" What does "mushy" mean, or "grainy?"

Suggested format: adjective - description - example.

I'll try to start with an entry at the back of our alphabet...





"watery"
liquid with few suspended large particles, it just flows down your throat
e.g. of course, water, but also consomme





P.S. I'm contemplating a post for "chewy" but I'm not yet certain how distinctively different a ball of bubble yum gum is from a slice of boiled octopus, in a dictionary term of textures. I think maybe our sense of taste texture can be "mapped," that there are parameters and ranges.

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Old 11-11-2010, 04:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spork View Post
A collective DC compilation to try and define taste textures.

What is "crunchy?" A potato chip, a radish, surely the two are very different textures, yet we often use the same term. It would help our cooking discussions, and kitchen endeavors, to have a more common reference. How does it differ from "crispy?" What does "mushy" mean, or "grainy?"

Suggested format: adjective - description - example.

I'll try to start with an entry at the back of our alphabet...





"watery"
liquid with few suspended large particles, it just flows down your throat
e.g. of course, water, but also consomme





P.S. I'm contemplating a post for "chewy" but I'm not yet certain how distinctively different a ball of bubble yum gum is from a slice of boiled octopus, in a dictionary term of textures. I think maybe our sense of taste texture can be "mapped," that there are parameters and ranges.
When I think of crunchy I think more in terms of grinding it with my molars. When I think of crispy I think of the "snap" you hear when you break it (like celery, firm carrots, potato chips).

Barbara
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:00 PM   #3
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Spork, I think this could certainly generate a lot of discussion.

To me, "watery" would be used to describe a dish that's mostly solid but has too much water in it. If something is watery, you would reduce it to make it less watery. e.g. a tomato sauce for pasta is too watery.

How about "liquid" to describe water or consummé?

Just my take on it.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Spork, I think this could certainly generate a lot of discussion.

To me, "watery" would be used to describe a dish that's mostly solid but has too much water in it. If something is watery, you would reduce it to make it less watery. e.g. a tomato sauce for pasta is too watery.

How about "liquid" to describe water or consummé?

Just my take on it.
I agree. The term "watery" has more negative connotations for me--something that should not be so liquid.

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Old 11-11-2010, 05:13 PM   #5
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and so I ask of another texture, what is "creamy?" again, not so much for taste, but its texture. I think it has to do with fat.

hopefully, someone can suggest a, description and example, just one step up from the clumsy word "mushy"
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:17 PM   #6
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A creamy liquid is more viscose than a water-like liquid. Further, it would have a different mouth feel from fat or other thickeners.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:36 PM   #7
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"mushy"
flesh that doesn't yield, at all, to a bite.
banana
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:09 PM   #8
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or a term half way between "creamy" and "mushy". my favorite for the texture of stews.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:24 PM   #9
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"gummy"
unyielding flesh that won't break down without a lot of chewing
e.g. calamari

Again, I love squid, I'm just trying to wrap my stomach around a taxonomy of texture.
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:27 AM   #10
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spork, i'd have to guess you've never had really good calamari. an italian place near me makes the most tender calamari in the world. they just dunk the peeled rings in rolling boiling water for 45 seconds (exactly) before shocking in ice for 30 seconds, and then toss with a dressing of minced red onion, minced raw garlic, minced celery, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and evoo. man, it's good. not chewy at all.

the second most tender is a thai place that does whole baby squid on skewers over an incredibly hot grill. grilled for less than a minute per side, just enough to get marks. it's served with fresh cilantro and mae ploy chili sauce over lettuce. another yummo.




ok, getting back to descriptive food words: i like "mouthfeel" - the sense that the food has somewhat more body than what it's being compared to.

or "mucilaginous" - slimy, mucus-like.

or "unctuous" - oily, greasy.
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