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Friday Tip|It’s All The Same

Friday!

Today I want to talk a little about cooking philosophy. I’m an extremely literal person (so much so that it’s possible that I have a disorder). Not that nuance or entendre is lost on me, but I have made some serious social faux pas because my mind stays on the literal track instead of going there.

I think this is the reason I like recipes.  I like to follow them.  I like to learn “the way” to do things and then I get more comfortable experimenting.  While this character trait doesn’t lend itself to extemporaneous cooking out of the gate, what it is good for is noticing patterns.  And notice I have.

One of the patterns I’ve noticed with cooking (that has made my kitchen life infinitely easier) is spicing and flavoring.  There are just certain flavors that occur together.  And as a cook, if you learn what they are, you will be able to start creating easily, even if you are a literal recipe-following monster like myself.

For example: hot is very often tempered with sweet.  Whether that is sugar (barbeque), honey (salad dressing) or nuts (mole), if you’re going to set your guests’ palettes on fire, it’s a good idea to throw them a little sugah as well.  Throw in a little salt in the right proportion and you might just get something that people can’t stop eating (caramelized pecans with salt and cayenne come immediately to mind).

Another example: spices are almost always used in the same combination(s).  If you want to make an Indian spiced dish, add cumin, ginger, onion, clove, cinnamon and cardamom.  You can add garlic, but it’s not really a go-to Indian spice (I think it might be on a no-no list for certain religious sects).

Once you start noticing these flavor combinations, you can recreate them without a recipe.  Cool no?  It might seem a little intimidating at first – if that’s the case, grab a cookbook that is cuisine-specific, and cook five or six things out of it, and note the repetition.  Once you see the flavors making repeat appearances (along with the similarities of technique) you can essentially make whatever you want in that style.  Yay!

If you are interested in flavor profiling, check out this link to Food Pairing (furnished to the Daring Kitchen courtesy of the wonderful Audax Artifex).  It will give you a great start in the art of making flavor combos.

Hope that’s helpful!

Cheers.

2 Comments

  1. Roberto Rothbard says:

    Great post!

  2. Amy says:

    Das Kleid steht dir sehr gut! Die Farbkombination sieht super aus und passt toll zu deinem Hautton. Ich finde es zur Zeit schewr, passende Farben ffcr helle Haut (ich bin etwas blasser als du) zu finden. Weder Pastelltf6ne noch Neonfarben gefallen mir an mir. Diese Farben gefallen mir allerdings sehr! Liebe GrfcdfeKaro

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