Keep 'em Guessing
It has been said that a prerequisite of being a mother, not withstanding the caregiving of children obviously, is to have at least one equally delicious, as it is secret recipe. The exclusiveness of this formula of flavor has prompted such responses as, when asked for the recipe, "I could tell you the recipe, but....". To the select few who have been granted access, the secrets often lie in the most unsuspecting places. This, the third of a short series on flavor combinations (GmarketChef Blog) is meant to broaden the way that we think about food combinations and hopefully provoke the development of your own secret recipe.
There are fewer "job positions" in which resourcefulness is a more valuable characteristic than that of a mother; it is perhaps for this reason that the cooking tactics follow the same amount of opportunism. In any case, the three focus points for the moment are texture, sweetness and aroma. As all three of these characteristics can be found in our guiltiest culinary indulgences, texture is without a doubt the most tactile of the three. From the crunchy crisp of a frosted flake crumble atop a baked sweet potato casserole, to raw to crushed ramen noodles in summer coleslaw, the impact that texture has on our impression is invaluable. Interestingly, as it has almost nothing technically to do with flavor- yet it still impacts the intrigue of any dish.
Conversely, the palate coating creaminess of a fatty component such as butter, almost magical creates a feeling of comfort. In the convention of back yard barbecue protocol, ingredients like apple juice with baby back ribs or grape jelly in a beefy sloppy Joe can be the "sleeper cells" creating the perfect infiltration of sweetness. Intentionally searching for these secret ingredients - a dash of soy sauce in vinaigrette or toasted cornbread cubes in a mixed vegetable salad are examples of tricks from mother's kitchen from which we can all learn. In order to re-energize a familiar dish, or simply to use what is in the cupboard at the time, an equal measure creativity and curiosity are a must.
The Italian tradition of Bistecca alla Fiorentina, that is, the fire cooking of the beef porterhouse is an all in one sensory experience that has been a preparation carried through the generations. Texturally balanced between the crust of the charred exterior and the richness of the meat, lightly dressed in olive oil, the aroma of herbs conjures the very birth of cooking. Applying fire to food is truly where it all began, no matter where you call home, there is a new "secret ingredient" to discover. In the interest of discovering and sharing new thoughts about food- post your favorite ingredient/mother's recipe. We love to hear about your culinary adventures and thoughts on future topics. Please feel free to comment below. Until next time, keep your knife sharp and your mind open.