Questions on understanding and manipulating the flavor of foods.

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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 ...
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 ...
31
votes
10answers
90k 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?
25
votes
12answers
150k 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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
19
votes
2answers
845 views

Is it true that smell is lost flavor?

This is a maxim that I hear frequently, especially as a defense of cooking methods that don't produce a lot of aroma: if the aroma is in the air, it means it's left the food. As an example, some ...
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 ...
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" ...
14
votes
5answers
22k views

The difference between green, red and yellow bell peppers

Is there any difference between green, red and yellow bell peppers, barring the color? Normally when I buy a pack of 3 I always leave the yellow till last. It's normally due the coloring looking less ...
14
votes
2answers
538 views

What flavorants stand up to long cooking?

My answer to this question (link) prompted a question in my own mind. I wanted to share some tips regarding when to add herbs, spices, aromatics, etc., and had a few suggestions (bay leaves and garlic ...
13
votes
9answers
18k views

How can I cook more flavorful Chicken through and through?

When I cook chicken, the flavor seems to be concentrated in the skin. But when I get a rotisserie chicken from Costco, it seems to be very flavorful through and through, beyond just the skin. I've ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

How do I impart “extra” flavor with Sous Vide cooking?

I've been cooking Sous Vide 2-3 times a week for about 10 months now, and I absolutely love it. The control of temperature and time makes for some really interesting possibilities. But, one of the ...
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
10k views

Why is it that white fish do not have as strong of a “fishy” taste as other fish?

As a rule my wife does not like the taste of fish, or pretty much anything that once made its home in the water. However, she's decided to give fish another shot. Not wanting to hit her over the head ...
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
29k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does roasting vegetables before pureeing into soup affect the flavour?

Last night I made a butternut squash soup. The recipe said to roast some squash and onion for 45 mins before boiling with stock for 15 and then pureeing. Is anyone able to explain (in moderate depth) ...
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
552 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, ...
11
votes
10answers
5k views

Mayonnaise Substitutes

I love pasta salads, tuna salad, sandwiches, and sauces; but I don't really like the texture of mayonnaise or the feeling I get after eating mayonnaise. What mayonnaise substitutes have you found ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a “Bubble Gum” flavor

There is a "flavor of bubble gum", not only for bubble gum, but also for kids toothpaste and milkshakes. Is it possible to reproduce this taste in the kitchen? What ingredients are required? Are ...
11
votes
2answers
579 views

How Can I Tell If Meat Has Been Brined?

My wife and I were eating some rotisserie chicken the other night and she commented something to the effect of "I think they brined this because I can taste the seasoning pretty deep in the meat." I ...
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?
10
votes
7answers
454 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?
9
votes
7answers
2k views

How to add a salty/bacon flavor and texture to vegan collard greens?

As a vegan of nearly a year bacon has come as a "great loss" and my collard greens have suffered for it greatly. I have been experimenting with tvp bacon bits, vegan bacon strips (both frozen and ...
9
votes
7answers
938 views

I fancy making flavoured 'spaghetti', any tips?

I would like to experiment with flavoured 'spaghetti' by taking a juice and gelling it in spaghetti shape, so I could have beetroot strands that I could use in a pasta dish. Anyone done this? Got ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What determines the 'saltiness' of salt?

I've bought two brands of salt that are completely different in terms of 'salt' concentration(not sure if this is the correct terminology). I realized this because I needed three or four times more ...
9
votes
5answers
26k views

How do I remove bitter flavor from lime rind in soup?

I just made a large pot of soup. It's a Mexican Caldo de Res. I added a bunch of lime juice, and thought, hey, maybe i'll throw the lime rinds in there too for a bit. This was a huge mistake. Now the ...
9
votes
2answers
206 views

Does stainless steel affect garlic flavors in food?

They say that washing your hands with a piece of stainless steel can help remove the smell of garlic and onions from your hands. There are even a number of stainless steel "soap" products on the ...
8
votes
5answers
982 views

What technique best infuses spices into a dish?

If I have a group of spices, all dried and ground, say: nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper... I'm curious about how to maximize their flavor for a drink or dish, and in what liquids ...
8
votes
1answer
597 views

Do sweet dishes taste sweeter when hot or when it gets cold?

While cooking something sweet which would be served cold or at room-temperature, is it more sweet when it is hot i.e. during the cooking when you taste in order to check the sweetness, or when it is ...
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 ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Advantages of using vinegar as a salt substitute for enhancing flavor?

I read a short blurb in Cooking for Geeks that said vinegar can be used as a substitute for salt, as a flavor enhancer, to make food less bland. I plan on experimenting, but I don't know where to ...
7
votes
2answers
526 views

Why does curry flavor improve overnight (beyond the effects of permeation and infusion)?

The flavor of a curry usually improves overnight. Harsh overtones mellow and disparate elements combine for a richer, more coherent result. Some people think this is just because the flavors from ...
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?
7
votes
4answers
720 views

How can I reproduce a “gamey” flavor?

I have fond memories of deer hunting with my uncle when I was younger... not only for the thrill of the hunt (as I'm sure most do), but also for the spoils: venison. Apparently, I was the only one of ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

In a recipe, how much is “to taste”?

A lot of recipes I've been preparing lately often list salt and black pepper as "to taste" in terms of quantity. I get that the general idea is to make the food taste good, but I'm not sure that I ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I cook with bay leaves?

I am an amateur hobbyist cook. So a lot of the time I will toss in a dash of something, taste the dish, and add a bit more. Experimenting sometimes with disastrous results... but I learn :) One spice ...
7
votes
2answers
806 views

Does using flaked salt make a difference when using it in cooking?

I have a few recipes that call for flaked salt, I can only seem to buy it in bulk 1kg bags here. I want to know that if you use "salt" in a recipe does it really matter to the final taste what kind of ...
7
votes
1answer
748 views

What makes bourbon a decent substitute for vanilla?

In the accepted answer to this question, it was said that bourbon can make a half-decent substitute for vanilla. I fail to understand how because the primary flavor component is vanillin and as far as ...
7
votes
3answers
44k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
11k views

How do you coat almonds in wasabi and keep it spicy and crunchy? (my wasabi paradox)

I've been trying to make wasabi and soy sauce almonds, like the ones you find at the store (Blue Diamond) but the only recipe I've found (food.com) is very underwhelming. Despite using varying ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the correct temperature when extracting saffron flavour?

I have several recipes that call for saffron. Obviously, they all say to put the saffron in some water to extract the flavour so it spreads more evenly in the dish. However, there is no mention of the ...
7
votes
1answer
167 views

What could cause a sudden loss of sour flavor?

Background During the weekend, my mother made a plum cake and put slices of plum on top. She gave me a piece to try and it was sweet and good for ~1.5 seconds before my face puckered from how sour it ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Source of smoky flavor in salsa?

I'm experimenting with making my own salsa. I recently had some that had an interesting flavor, rather smoky. Is anyone aware of what might add this flavor? I'd like to add that flavor to my own ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

What's causing the metallic aftertaste in my Nutraloaf?

Thanks to all of the wonderful help thus far, I've finally been able to make my Überfood. It's called "Nutraloaf", and is kind of like a meatloaf with a bunch of other stuff in it. It has no real ...