When I was in college, I had to take a mandatory science class. As a communications major, the idea of being required to take a science class in order to move on with my life felt so unjust. Luckily, I heard about a professor who cooked in his chemistry classes, so I chose his over the others. Despite only barely passing, I learned for the first time that biology and chemistry are the keys to flavor and mouth feel balance! The best food is made with a deep understanding of how food reacts to various degrees of manipulation and how flavors interact with each other. All these years later, that experience is still helpful.
With warmer weather just around the corner, many consumers are turning to lighter meals in anticipation of shedding winter clothes. Some of the less-filling lunches and dinners my family loves include anything made with white meat chicken. Not only does chicken have a welcoming savory flavor, it is an economical protein source.
Not to dismiss our love of chicken wings and fried chicken (they are still favorites), it is common to find one of several chicken salad recipes being made in our kitchen.
But don’t let the term “salad” confuse you. Chicken salad can be many things, including but certainly not limited to, a bowl of spring greens topped with fried chicken tenders. “Chicken salads” are much more than that.
Ketchup is probably my favorite condiment. I use it in cooking (e.g., meatloaf, my famous baked beans, let’s not forget sloppy Joe’s), on sandwiches (a must-have on grilled hot dogs and hamburgers) and in a variety of other ways (I should confess I can’t eat French fries without lots of it, but you probably could’ve guessed that at this point!). When my love of ketchup first began, little did I know that it was likely in part because of my love of tomatoes, which provides an undeniable umami taste.
Tokyo, Japan is the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world; in fact, the entire country of Japan has 429 restaurants with the honor. No other country comes close. It’s safe to say that Japan is one of the top culinary destinations in the world. Chefs and foodies alike have speculated about why Japan has been able to uphold this unique honor for nearly decade: some say it’s the small restaurants that allow for attention to detail, some say it’s the island’s ability to produce fresh and dynamic produce year-round, some say it’s the distinctive umami flavor present in so many dishes that is responsible for Japan’s food successes.
Twenty-five years ago, a television channel dedicated solely to food came into our homes. Yes, I’m talking about the Food Network. At the time, the concept of watching culinary experts (24/7 no less) sharing their skills and knowledge — live and via video — was novel. Up until then, resources were limited to reading about the culinary world or practicing food preparation methods first-hand.
Now, however, we take for granted that we can learn about food and cooking by watching and listening to television/radio shows and online videos. Content ranges from food trends, culinary techniques and new ingredients to competitions between seasoned chefs (as well as contests between novices and professionals). All it takes to learn more about food is as simple as turning on our TVs or by tapping a button on our computers, tablets or smart phones.
Indeed, discussions about food have permeated our lives, whether we like it or not. “Food talk” is now inescapable in our society. For example, until we had these television shows, online videos and websites, who had heard much about umami taste, which has been taking the culinary world by storm for the past decade?