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Old 10-05-2019, 06:32 AM   #1
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The taste of Food

I have an exercise for every new cook, and most seasoned cooks as well. To become creative with anything, first you must understand what you are working with. Keeping that theme, try this little exercise. Take a bit of a food that you love, and taste just a little of it, letting it roll around, or dissolve on your tongue. Concentrate on what you taste, and where you taste it. Is it stronger on the sides of your tongue, on the tip, in the back, or some combination. Do you sense the aroma in the back of your throat, in your sinuses? With a little practice, you will find that you are ale to concentrate on where the food you are enjoying gives you the strongest and best sensation. You might just find new flavors in old favorites.

Ok, part 2:
Again nibble on that itof food and try to accurately describe what sensations yu are getting. Let me give you an example.
I just ate a piece of aged cheddar cheese. It was firm, yet creamy, and had a sour note to it. It combined that sourness with a hint of bitter, but not enough to hardly taste, Just enough to round out the flafor. There was the sharp flavor like that of blue cheese in the background, again, not enough to be pronounced, just enough to add complexity to the cheese. I could taste the salt, and feel the minerals crunch softly between my teeth. The cheese was fatty, and luxuriously smooth. I caught the aroma of the cheese in the back of my throat, in my sinuses, and it was warm and pleasant. Altogether, these flavors and sensations came together to give me a full-bodied classic cheddar flavor.

So what does A&W Root Beer taste like? Take a sip and play it over your tongue. Let it get into your sinuses. Concentrate on the flavor. I did that and was surprised to find that it tasted like brown sugar and wintergreen. There was a down side to that one howe er. DW loved A&W Root Beer, but hated wintergreen. After I told her what I had found, she was mad at me for over a year, because when she dramk the soda, all she could taste was the wintergreen/ I really didn't mean to spoil it for her.


So why do i say that this exerccise is important? If you understand the flavors you are working with, and are familiar with them, you iwll learn to put together flavors in your head before actually making them, with a fair chance of what you are trying to create come out the way you want it. Of course, cooking technique, chemical and heat reactions also come into play.

I hear Folks say; "Baking is science while cooking is art." These same people generally hold hard and fast to rules set down in cookbooks, and taught them by oshers who they regard as knowledgeable. I say that once you understand the dynamics of the food reaction to heat, and how various ingredients such as yeast baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, and water can dramatically affect the food you are making, you can pretty much use recipes only as a guide, and truly become creative. See what happens when you get an engineer who loves to be creative in the kitchen

Try out my exersizes. They will make you more caable in the kitchen.

Seeeeeya; Che if Longwind of the North

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Old 10-05-2019, 10:57 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
I have an exercise for every new cook, and most seasoned cooks as well. To become creative with anything, first you must understand what you are working with. Keeping that theme, try this little exercise. Take a bit of a food that you love, and taste just a little of it, letting it roll around, or dissolve on your tongue. Concentrate on what you taste, and where you taste it. Is it stronger on the sides of your tongue, on the tip, in the back, or some combination. Do you sense the aroma in the back of your throat, in your sinuses? With a little practice, you will find that you are ale to concentrate on where the food you are enjoying gives you the strongest and best sensation. You might just find new flavors in old favorites.

Ok, part 2:
Again nibble on that itof food and try to accurately describe what sensations yu are getting. Let me give you an example.
I just ate a piece of aged cheddar cheese. It was firm, yet creamy, and had a sour note to it. It combined that sourness with a hint of bitter, but not enough to hardly taste, Just enough to round out the flafor. There was the sharp flavor like that of blue cheese in the background, again, not enough to be pronounced, just enough to add complexity to the cheese. I could taste the salt, and feel the minerals crunch softly between my teeth. The cheese was fatty, and luxuriously smooth. I caught the aroma of the cheese in the back of my throat, in my sinuses, and it was warm and pleasant. Altogether, these flavors and sensations came together to give me a full-bodied classic cheddar flavor.

So what does A&W Root Beer taste like? Take a sip and play it over your tongue. Let it get into your sinuses. Concentrate on the flavor. I did that and was surprised to find that it tasted like brown sugar and wintergreen. There was a down side to that one howe er. DW loved A&W Root Beer, but hated wintergreen. After I told her what I had found, she was mad at me for over a year, because when she dramk the soda, all she could taste was the wintergreen/ I really didn't mean to spoil it for her.


So why do i say that this exerccise is important? If you understand the flavors you are working with, and are familiar with them, you iwll learn to put together flavors in your head before actually making them, with a fair chance of what you are trying to create come out the way you want it. Of course, cooking technique, chemical and heat reactions also come into play.

I hear Folks say; "Baking is science while cooking is art." These same people generally hold hard and fast to rules set down in cookbooks, and taught them by oshers who they regard as knowledgeable. I say that once you understand the dynamics of the food reaction to heat, and how various ingredients such as yeast baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, and water can dramatically affect the food you are making, you can pretty much use recipes only as a guide, and truly become creative. See what happens when you get an engineer who loves to be creative in the kitchen

Try out my exersizes. They will make you more caable in the kitchen.

Seeeeeya; Che if Longwind of the North
Nice post, Chief. I've never aspired to be a connoisseur of any kind. In fact, kind of looked down on folks who seemed to lean that direction. But recently, trying to improve my coffee roasting results has got me listening to folks who talk about coffee exactly like the snootiest sommelier talks about wine. As variations on your suggestions here are some things I've learned in the last couple of months.
  • Trying two or three different coffees, or cheeses, back to back helps identify and articulate the differences.
  • Tasting pen in hand helps. Writing thoughts down concentrates the mind and clarifies ideas.
  • Progress requires variety. After a while, "good" gets taken for granted and we become inured to "less good."
Your post makes clear that I need to put this into practice for cooking as well.
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:04 PM   #3
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Enjoyed reading your post Chief Longwind.


I'm sure good things can come with practicing your approach.


One thing though, on tasting root beer - to me it always smelled of shoe polish and tasted much like licorice mixed in with tooth paste - LOL
Perhaps I should check it out again.
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Recipes Make Magic View Post
Enjoyed reading your post Chief Longwind.


I'm sure good things can come with practicing your approach.


One thing though, on tasting root beer - to me it always smelled of shoe polish and tasted much like licorice mixed in with tooth paste - LOL
Perhaps I should check it out again.
The toothpaste part of the taste is because they made toothpaste taste like root beer to appeal to children. Or so I have heard.

I prefer sarsaparilla. It has similar flavours, but subtler, less "in your face".
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Old 10-05-2019, 04:23 PM   #5
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It's interesting to me that unless the food is truly awful, I am always happy with the results of other folks cooking, feeling grateful and honored to share a meal with the, In that instance, a can of chicken soup is as good as a gourmet meal for me. However, if I'm making the meal, and it doesn't come out perfect, I beat myself up about it.

Knowing how to improvise with a food degree of surety of success has helped me on numerous occasions. For instance, I can't eat winter squashes due to kidney issues. This means no pumpkin pie. I also have to avoid sweet potatoes. So I played the flavors of various likely foods in my mind to see if I could come up with a substitute for the pumpkin. I thought about it and realized that cooked pumpkin and cooked carrot have similar textures, and some common flavor elements, and neither were so strong in flavor as to assert those flavors over the sugar and spices in the pumpkin pie recipe. Also, the moisture content is similar. So I cooked and mashed carrots, and used them to replace the pumpkin in my pi recipe. The color was more orange, but with an almost identical flavor.

There have been many other times when I've been called upon to throw together something when the cook was missing an ingredient, or didn't know how to make a dish they were hungry for. Sloppy Joe's comes to mind. The person making them invited me for lunch, went to the cupboard, and found there was no "Manwich". She didn't know what to do. I asked if I could get into the cupboard and see if I could come up with something, especially since she already had the ground beef browning in a pan. She said yes. I found brown sugar, and the seasonings I could taste in my mind. I had necer made sloppy joes from scratch at this time It came out great and she was very impressed.

Learn to put together flavors in your head. Learn to dissect flavors that you experience. It will take you far.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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