When your food culture reflects diversity and is based on food quality, I don't think you can go wrong. It took me several trips to France to really appreciate Terroir. I truelly believe that if Terroir were practiced in the U.S. as it is in France, we would see a signigicant turnaround in the quality of our food choices in the general food markets and the revival of our small independent farms, which are disappearing. Here is an artical that will introduce you to the relationship between Appelation d'Origine Controlee and the preservation of Terroir, the origination of food products.
How much should we salt?
It's a given, our bodies NEED salt and it's definately a key ingredient that can make or break the taste of a dish. I've actually seen a friend just tip the shaker upside down and let it pour over the food. Whew! It was scary, not only regarding what was happening to the taste of the dish but what was possibly happening to the inside of that person's body!
When going over the literature regarding the salting of food, there seems to be a broad misunderstanding of people's needs versus eating habits, and personal eating habits, even poor ones, tend to win out.
Here's an article that gives a very good, over-arching idea of what salting food is all about. There does still seem to be quite alot of research that is needed on the subject.
Found another good one!
Well, not just the wrist, but actually, food preparation technique matters. I've confessed, I'm the newbie when it comes to truely understanding the skills of culinary art. A pot, a box, water......what else do you need to know? For many, it's just the love of the experience, you cook because you love the experience and the result and it's satisfying on many levels.
What I'm getting intrigued with is that there are "things happening" that we usually aren't consciously aware of unless we are nutritionists (or some other type of food scientist). Here is an article that I found interesting because it points out how one small, simple, but intentional action can enhance a dish, not only in quality of flavor but will lead to a greater nutritional value.
Here is an exerpt from a George Mateljan Newsletter:
"Healthy Food Tip Is it true that cabbage loses its health-promoting sulfur compounds six hours after it is cut? How long after it is cooked will cabbage lose its sulfur compounds?
Cabbage does not lose all of its sulfur compounds six hours after being cut, nor does it lose all of its sulfur compounds after being cooked. Much of the sulfur in cabbage and other foods is attached either to proteins or related compounds, and this attachment prevents it from being lost completely. There are several dozen sulfur-containing derivatives of the amino acid cysteine found in cabbage and an equivalent number of associated sulfoxides as well. Other sulfur-containing (thiol) molecules are formed when cabbage is cooked. While some of these compounds are definitely volatile and lost during cooking, or over time after the cabbage has been chopped, not all are removed. In addition, the cutting process may actually increase certain health benefits since some of the newly formed (and transformed) sulfur-containing molecules have been shown to have cancer-preventive properties. This includes the sulfur-containing glucosinolates, which are formed when an enzyme called myrosinase is activated. Because the cutting and chopping of the cabbage is an event that activates myrosinase enzymes, it's actually helpful to let your chopped cabbage sit for a few minutes before cooking it (if you are planning to cook it). This time period will let the myrosinase enzymes convert some of the original sulfur-containing molecules in cabbage into glucosinolates. If you cook your chopped cabbage immediately after chopping, the heat will denature the myrosinase enzymes and the sulfur-containing glucosinolates will be unable to form. I haven't seen studies showing the rate of sulfur-related changes in cooked cabbage over time. Nor have I seen studies showing sulfur-related changes in chopped raw cabbage. It's the antioxidant nutrient loss-and particularly the vitamin C loss-that shows up as most time-sensitive in both chopped raw cabbage and chopped cooked cabbage. Overcooking vegetables, including cabbage, is one of the best ways I know to rob vegetables of their nutrient benefits; when it comes to cabbage this includes its sulfur-related benefits. I recommend about five minutes (at most) for the steaming or "Healthy Sautéing" of raw cabbage. Prior to cooking, I recommend about the five-minute waiting period to allow sulfur-related changes to occur in the freshly chopped cabbage. Virtually all types of cabbage will store safely in the refrigerator in whole-head form for at least one week. But a partly chopped cabbage head should be tightly covered and kept for no more than three to five days. Many raw cabbage recipes will contain either vinegar or lemon juice and these acidic liquids will help preserve the refrigerated cabbage-containing recipe over a period of several days. For optimal health benefits, however, I recommend enjoying a raw cabbage dish as soon as possible after it has been prepared. For more information on this topic, please see: If you have any questions about today's Healthy Food Tip Ask George Your Question "
A few months ago, Chef Roland and I took 13 other people associated with Mississippi State University on our culinary tour, A Taste of Le Berry in the Central region of France. It was a wonderful experience in the French countryside where we spent a week on a country farm that had converted its buildings into cottages. These types of enteprises are called gites in France and they are always nestled in rural areas near to quaint little towns and villages. Ours was near to Sarzay where we had the opportunity to explore medieval ruins of Chateau Sarzay. I, personally, love it there!
As we spent each day visiting various communities experiencing the local markets, cafes, and restaurants, we all had new food experiences of tastes that were not part of our normal eating at home in the States. Some of us enjoyed the French cuisine more than others. Some, in our group, discovered their love of new tastes that they had never tried before. It was definately a different food culture than what was the norm of our own personal food choices.
As someone who has basically grown up with a typical American repertoire of food experiences,I see now how limited I am in understanding what tasting food is really about. Curious, I began to look up articles on "training the palate", wondering if anyone else was thinking about this subject. I was suprised to find quite a bit on the subject and was interested to learn that, in fact, we are born with a mouthful of tastebuds that have a very wide spectrum of tasting abilities. One article that I read discussed the fact that we can even diminish or "lose" our ability to taste depending on how we eat. Our personal food culture, the types of food and the preparation techniques we use, can greatly influence what it is that we want to eat and what kinds of food we will most seek out. If that's true, by eating the same thing most of the time, we can greatly limit our palate, our ability to taste and to enjoy a greater diversity of food. We can even lose our ability to enjoy real food, preferring an artificial product over natural food. Recently, at the Food Camp held at Mississippi State University, I saw that demonstrated when children voted their preference to be artificial lemonade over real, fresh squeezed lemonade. When asked why they preferred the artificial over the real, they said the artificial was more yellow and sweeter and that's what they liked.
From what I understand, an execptional palate is the ability to taste or detect a wide range of flavors, even very delicate, subtle ones. Just as artists are able to appreciate a broad range of colors to capture and appreciate the beauty of the world around them, developing a palate for fresh, delicious food becomes a significant key in our ability to discern the quality of the food we eat and our ability to appreciate what good food is truely about.
As I looked over various articles on the subject of training the palate, I came across one that really helps to clarify the different cultural attitudes regarding tasting food and the importance of developing that ability in young children through education. I encourage everyone to read over the article, I found it most interesting:
When Roland and I met, I was one of those people who opened the box or can and warmed up the family meal. After our marriage in 2005, I truely began to appreciate what food is really about, not only that it can taste very good, and be nutritious, but that it can be a celebration of who you are and the people that you share it with.