Monday, 15 August 2011

Its all in the Best Possible Taste

I have just realised that I love bitter foods. This, needless to say, has taken me some time to work out, considering how far I am through my life!

The reason I made this magical discovery was because I burnt some pumpkin soup, and went trawling on the internet to discover a counter-agent for overly smoky flavouring. I found several hints (cinnamon & cumin; sweet chilli sauce; peanut butter; cream (obviously to thin the flavour).

During the course of my research, I got to thinking about what things I enjoyed the taste of, and in reading about those, discovered that they all had one thing in common; they were bitter tastes. Ah, the explosion of dark chocolate... the bite of a good coffee... the tang of olives... the fresh zing of mesclun. That got me thinking about what represented the other taste groups (largely because my husband does not enjoy those things that I love). So I went on a bit of quest to find the tastes representative of each group, and compiled a wee list to share with you:
  1. Bitter: dark chocolate (yum!), wood smoke, quinine, coffee, cocoa, South American mate, beer, bitters, olives, brassicas, natural cucumber, celery, sharp salad greens, bitter marmalade, citrus peel, lemon.
  2. Salt: seafood, barley, chive seeds, duck, ham & pork, crisps (oo, check out those Proper crisps!)
  3. Sour: crab apple, tart grapes, lychees, loquat, citrus fruits (mandarin, tangerine, grapefruit, kumquat) mangoes, some peaches, pineapples, and plums, star fruit, vinegar, liquorice
  4. Sweet: honey, sugar, brown sugar, malt, most fruit & berries (including watermelon, cherries, dates figs, guavas, raspberries, strawberries), seeds, barley, beetroot, button mushrooms, corn, commercial cucumber, eggplant, soy, Chinese cabbage, carrot, beans, coconut, cinnamon, peanuts, chicken, eggs, freshwater fish, beef, milk
  5. Umami: savoury, meaty taste in cheese, soy sauce, sodium glutamate, fermented and aged foods, seaweed, bacon, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, grains and beans
I now realise that my husband loves sweet & salt, while my favourite taste group is bitter, and my second favourite is umami. Aren't we humans fascinating in our diversity?

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