Questions on understanding and manipulating the flavor of foods.

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19
votes
5answers
6k views

Flavour combinations - structural analysis

Without neccesarily going into molecular cooking (although we could): does any literature / website / theory provide information on flavor / flavour combinations that go well together? (ignoring ...
25
votes
12answers
154k views

How can you make a sauce less spicy/hot?

Sometimes when I'm making a sauce or soup that needs to be a bit spicy, I have no troubles spicing how I want to. But if the dinner party is a bit late, or I made the sauce in advance to really draw ...
7
votes
8answers
3k views

What is a good vegetarian source of umami flavour?

I'm looking for a source of the umami flavour to add to various dishes. However, since I became vegetarian I can't think of a good source for the flavour. I used to use Worcestershire sauce, or Nam ...
12
votes
2answers
6k views

Are some flavour pairings known to work better than others (and if so, why)?

It is commonly known that there are five "primary" flavours: Sweet Sour Bitter Salty Savory (AKA Umami) That leaves 10 possible pairs of two, 10 possible sets of three, and 5 possible sets of ...
31
votes
10answers
94k views

How to fix food that got extra salty?

I imagine this depends on what the food is. With spaghetti, you can add water or change water if you detect it on time. But what about grilled meat? Or a tomato sauce?
39
votes
7answers
5k views

Why do some foods taste better the next day?

Many people think that certain foods, like lasagna, many stews and hearty soups, tomato sauce and so forth taste better the next day. My question is, is that really true, and if so, why? The ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

How does the way that I cut my garlic affect the taste of my food?

I've seen recipes that called for coarsely chopped garlic and recipes that called for finely chopped or minced garlic. What affect does that cut have on the final taste of my dish? What about crushed ...
10
votes
6answers
4k views

How much salt should I add to a dish?

I find it hard to figure out how much salt to add to dishes. I'm always afraid I'll make it too salty. Recipes always call for salt to taste, but what does that mean? Is there a good rule of thumb?
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Counter to bitterness in soup

My minestrone turned out too bitter. How can I counter it? The soup contains tomatoes, pasta, Savoy cabbage, celery, carrots, burnt sautéed garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Sugar seems to be ...
42
votes
11answers
2k views

How can I train myself to identify flavors better?

I'd love to be able to cook well and I think a part of that is identifying flavors. We all have different palates, but there are probably some basic techniques that can be used to figure out what the ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do drinks drunk from a glass instead of a bottle taste differently?

Cola drunken out of a glass instead to a bottle/can taste differently to me; it is much better. Is this due to more aroma smelled by your nose when drinking out of open glass changing the kind of ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

What counters astringency?

I've been attempting to make green smoothies lately as part of a health kick. The way I've been doing it is to use a normal smoothie recipe, but to add handfuls of spinach. In general, the results ...
17
votes
6answers
3k views

Can food be boiled “extra fast/hard” in water?

Once water is boiling you can either leave the heat on quite high, or turn it down a bit so that it just keeps boiling. Apart from extra water vaporating, does this have any effect on the taste of ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do things smell good while cooking but have little flavour when finished

While cooking, particularly things that cook slowly on the hob, it smells really good while cooking but when finished it never seems to have as much flavour as I hoped. Am I doing something wrong or ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

Does water that's been left to sit and then reboiled taste different from fresh water boiled once?

This may sound like a silly question, but I've always wondered: If I boil some water and use some of it and leave the remainder in the kettle, and then a few days later boil that same water again, ...
14
votes
5answers
5k views

What are the differences between various types of paprika, and which have the most flavor?

I've tried various different brands of paprika but none seem to have any flavor. Can anyone recommend a kind or brand of paprika that is less bland? For example, I've seen certain "special" ...
12
votes
3answers
575 views

What brine ingredients are effective?

I frequently brine chicken and pork, and mostly it's just salt and water, sometime sugar, and occasionally garlic. But I've seen all sorts of other "goodies" people add in, like spices, herbs, ...
10
votes
7answers
457 views

How can I make the most effective use of high-quality olive oil?

I was recently in an organic market and sampled some of the finest olive oil I've ever tasted. I bought a bottle, and I'm now looking for ways to maximize my enjoyment of it. I'm familiar with ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does frozen food seem to have lost its original taste and texture after reheating?

I usually freeze my leftovers. Then, when I reheat them, the flavors are diminished - less salt, less chili, less everything. Any ideas why?
7
votes
3answers
45k views

How long can you freeze raw chicken before it seriously affects its taste?

The dramatic effects of freezing something almost always has an immediate impact on taste. But it seems like the longer something is in the freezer the worse it tastes. Recently, I found some months ...
12
votes
3answers
30k views

What is the formal definition of savory?

What is the formal definition of "savory" when used in cooking? I hear a lot about things coming in either sweet or savory forms — e.g. crepes — but in context it doesn't seem that savory ...
7
votes
4answers
11k views

Why do cauliflower or brussels sprouts sometimes taste bitter, and (how) can I avoid it?

Cauliflower or Brussels Sprouts sometimes taste slightly bitter after cooking. Is this some mistake in the way they are cooked or is that just the vegetables themselves?
6
votes
2answers
546 views

Should I brown meat for stew?

I always look through the comments on recipes I find online that I want to try. The comments are usually helpful and give great tips on how to make the dish even better! I recently found a great ...
6
votes
5answers
9k views

How to remove the bitter taste from green bell pepper?

Green pepper has a more bitter taste than red or yellow pepper. Are there tricks to remove or diminish this bitter taste? A special way of cooking, or adding a bit of sugar or something maybe?
6
votes
4answers
467 views

Why does salt taste different in different dishes?

If I salt tomato, potato and pasta, their tastes change in completely different ways to me. Why is this? Had I put oregano on them, they'd all taste like oregano. Update: The question is not "is it ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What helps against astringent mouthfeel from spinach or chard?

Spinach and chard dishes, if prepared from fresh veggies, have a somehow astringent mouthfeel, that can be unpleasant. Does anybody know what exactly causes this mouthfeel chemically and/or knows a ...
4
votes
1answer
253 views

Does butter reduce perceived sweetness?

In another question I ask about the ideal flour, sugar, butter ratio to use in crumble. It appears that the amount of sugar people add in their recipes depends more closely on how much butter is added ...
4
votes
4answers
424 views

How do you make sure aubergine doesn't go bitter when cooking?

Sometimes aubergine and courgette tastes fine when cooked as is, but other times they are so bitter that they're almost inedible. I've tried dry salting and leaving the slices in salt water beforehand ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the best way to learn what each seasoning is?

For example, Iike cayenne pepper is spicy and marjorum has a smoky flavor. I just want to learn the different flavors of each seasoning, so I can know exactly what seasonings to use for the different ...
4
votes
6answers
298 views

Possible Pumpkin Flavors

I am hoping to try out cooking with pumpkin this year and only know a) not to buy jack-o-lantern varieties for cooking, and b) about making it into sweeter things like pies, cakes, cookies et cetera. ...
3
votes
1answer
361 views

How does MSG enhance food flavor?

Back many moons ago I used MSG all the time. When a lot of controversy cropped up I gradually went away from using it as I was concerned about the high sodium content it was purported to have. Now, ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Tasty vs Mild vs Mature Cheddar Cheese

I expect Cheddar to come in Semi-matured, Matured and Vintage. Each indicating increasing amount of time maturing, and increased sharpness. The term Mild also makes sense. However, alot of cheese, ...
3
votes
1answer
323 views

Why does Mexican food taste dissonant with balsamic vinegar?

I assayed an attempt at hot sauce the other day by cooking 3 pounds of peppers (jalapeno and hungarian wax) in olive oil and balsamic vinegar for about three hours, then throwing them in a blender. ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Can salt make sour fruit seem sweeter?

I got a little debate started via the comments on this answer. The poster suggests the use of salt to make a sour kiwifruit-sauce taste sweeter in the same way you would use salt to make something ...
3
votes
3answers
32k views

Why is mixing good whiskey with cola/ginger ale frowned upon? [closed]

I ordered a Jameson and ginger ale at a pub the other night and my brother asked me why I wasn't ordering it neat or on the rocks, since it was "pretty good" whiskey. Right now I'm having some good ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Soda from fridge to room temperature

Does taking an unopened can of soda out of the refrigerator and leaving at room temperature compromise the taste, flavor, or carbonation of the unopened soda can?
3
votes
9answers
29k views

How to get the flavors to meld when I add fruit and sugar to plain yogurt?

I've recently taken a liking to greek yogurt. So far, I've been buying the Chobani low-fat and non-fat yogurts, which all have flavoring added. I've recently bought a container of plain greek yogurt, ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

Why does cold coffee taste sweeter with the same amount of sugar?

I have observed that the same amount of sugar tastes differently in hot and in cold coffee. If I drink hot coffee, I feel I can add more and more sugar, without it tasting too sweet. However, cold ...
3
votes
2answers
693 views

How to Flavor Homemade Gum Drops

For favors that I am making for an upcoming party, I'm looking to do some old-fashioned homemade gum drops. I have found a recipe that looks do-able. It calls for candy flavoring. I've also found ...
2
votes
1answer
271 views

Flavorings for clear gelatin

I'm planning to make a sort of diorama, and the 3D nature of it is going to require suspending things in clear gelatin. Are there flavorings that would work that wouldn't significantly affect the ...
2
votes
0answers
70 views

Is it a good idea or a waste to fry with olive oil? [duplicate]

A NY Times article says it's a waste: After I’d heated them, none of the olive oils had much olive flavor left. In fact, they didn’t taste much different from the seed oils. But How to Cook ...
2
votes
2answers
254 views

What Sampling Bread to use for Pulled Pork, open faced?

I'm making a bacon based chili with smoked pulled pork (orange juice marinade by injection, smoked dried pusilla/ancho/guajillo rub) where I reserve all the liquid at the end of the process, roux it ...
1
vote
1answer
893 views

Describing the taste of Illy coffee and similar brands

I'm no coffee expert - I can't describe flavours well, but I know what I like. And I'd like to learn to describe tastes better. Illy is my favourite coffee (for French press use) - it seems a lot ...
0
votes
2answers
730 views

Do beignets have to sit overnight?

I made beignets and I want to hurry and bake them before going to sleep tonight. Do I have to let them sit overnight or will they be fine if i just put them in there for a few hours then fry? This is ...