Taste Cooking: Using Your Taste Buds
So far, all I’ve written about is something about taste, and today will be no exception as I talk about taste cooking. What do I mean? It’s simply tasting as you go. Cooking up dishes that your family will rave about is in the art and skill of balancing the five tastes, un-technically, six.
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I have an axiom, and it goes like this … if I make something I don’t like, I only have myself to blame. And it really doesn’t matter if I’m using a recipe, or it’s my own concoction. The principle still applies. Now I rarely follow a recipe, even my own, but that’s another lesson. My point is, there is no substitute for tasting your way to the end result. And reaching a pleasing conclusion is knowing how to balance your way there. It’s also getting a feel for what does what to your dish.
Now granted, some dishes can’t be tasted along the way. Let’s take lasagna as an example. I can’t really taste the final dish until I pull it from the oven. However, I can taste the sauce, a predominate flavor that will be savored with each bite. But I can easily ensure it’s perfect before assembly. The same goes with the cheese concoction I make. Yes, I have to eat a bit of raw egg, but it hasn’t killed me so far.
What is the formula?
You may be asking if there is a formula for balancing out the five tastes. No, is the simple answer. Does every good dish have all five? No, but you can’t have a savory dish with sweet as the only taste. Have you ever had sweet and sour chicken or pork? When done right, the result almost takes umami to a new level. My sweet and sour sauce has the sweet taste of sugar, pineapple juice, and ketchup, the sour of vinegar, the umami of soy and Worcestershire sauce, and a little heat of red pepper flakes. All combined, the resulting flavor is elevated to something untouched by the individual ingredients themselves.
In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that I explored the world of tastes for more than two years. During that time, I exposed myself to tastes and flavors I’d never before experienced. There is no substitute for exposure, and it is the reason why I recommend getting off the couch to explore different cuisines.
Today’s article is from the blog, The Savory Simple. As much as I don’t think her title is spot-on, her article is. It is a quick but educational read. My next lesson will be about our other senses and the part they play in the dining experience.
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