Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Taste and Flavor

My first rotation this time around is a class called "Taste and Flavor". It includes a wine class and a nutrition class, which is more of a food science class, along with a lab in which we explore what we learn during our lectures. The basis of the class is the 5 basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami (a Japanese word meaning savory or meaty). These basic tastes are all sensed by the receptor cells on our tongue. We've learned how they affect each other, for instance salt increases umami and reduces sour, bitter, and sweet. Well, if something is both sweet and sour or sweet and bitter, salt then reduced the bitter or the sour making us able to perceive more sweet.

All of this will eventually get us to a place where we are better able to make adjustments to "balance" tastes on a plate.

Flavor is actually taste + texture + aroma. We aren't really allowed to use this word in class. The chef instructor calls this the "f" word. I've noted that he as used it several times, but I still am bridling my tongue. We are to be specific when describing food in terms of the taste, texture and aroma. I will have a prototype of my final dish which I will complete on Monday. I have not a clue what I'm doing and won't even be able to think about it until Thursday when I sample and am assigned a wine to serve with said dish. YIKES!

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