New flavors in today's cuisine

You can talk about the harmony of color and shapes when presenting food and decorating the dishes we present. But an important part of human perception is made up of the sensation of taste. We will talk about the new flavors in today's cuisine and their importance.

Flavor is a sensation that begins in our taste buds, where the chemical substances found in food dissolve with saliva and create sensory stimuli that are sent to the brain, where they are integrated with other sensations, especially smell, to create a perception of the food.

The smell, therefore, is an important part of the taste sensation, so a strong perfume or other strong odors can alter the perception. Chronic smokers, for example, have alterations in smell that make them perceive food differently.

The basic flavors, salty, sweet, bitter and acid, are complemented by other new flavors that are being discovered, such as the unami flavor, which provides for example the monosodium glutamate flavoring.

Glutamate, much discussed, and once its safety has been proven, is perhaps the most widely used flavoring, especially at an industrial level. It is found naturally in plants and algae, but artificially synthesized, it is added to many dishes and sauces, especially in oriental cuisine, where it has shown its ability to stimulate the unami or tasty flavor. It has been shown to improve appetite in the elderly, which appears to have decreased taste perception in general.

Today's cuisine is full of new additives and flavorings, some natural, extracted from Nature, such as plant extracts, or artificial, authorized chemical additives that stimulate taste receptors, thus reinforcing the flavor of food itself or even creating new "textures ”And flavor combinations.

On a practical level, these flavorings are liquids, powders or pastes that are used as additives not only in food, but also in toothpaste, gum and even pencils, to improve or change the flavor.

Natural flavorings are those obtained by extraction, distillation or concentration from natural sources, and with exclusively food use. For example, fruit concentrates or natural essences, vanilla, lemon, etc.

But most of the time we use artificial substitutes, chemicals that mimic natural concentrates, widely used in the food industry. They faithfully reproduce natural aromas, such as artificial aromas of strawberry or vanilla, used in pastries and ice cream.

Other new trends lead to the creation of artificial flavors that have no homologues in Nature, which, being harmless to health, create new flavors.

Today, however, there is much debate about the use of these additives. Although declared safe for health, we are asked why not use natural substances better, instead of replacing them with artificial ones.

To give an easy example, in my house the egg custard flavored with vanilla stick or cinnamon has always been made, but now we use vanilla substitutes or directly the pre-made custard, in envelopes, which does not even have eggs, cornstarch base, sweeteners and flavorings. It does not taste the same, it is clear.

The classic concentrated stock tablet was a great advance years ago, due to its convenience and easy storage, but let's think, has it really improved the flavor of our dishes, as advertised in their advertising? Of course, it has altered the flavor of dishes and stews, but improving it I doubt it. One of these innocent bouillon tablets can ruin the best homemade stew, and there comes a time when everything tastes the same, and it could even tell you the brand of tablet used in each recipe, given the dominant flavor and, we must say, artificial, which provide.

If you go into many professional kitchens, you will see large containers of concentrated broths and pre-made sauces that are the basis of a spurious kitchen, in my opinion. Nothing simpler, and more important, than preparing your own funds or basic broths, based on natural ingredients cooked over low heat. Something that unfortunately is only made in kitchens of a certain renown (and price).

The list of artificial flavors is so extensive, hidden among E- additives, that it practically mimics any natural flavor. Let's say that they "trick" our senses, and we are so used that if we tried an ice cream made with natural vanilla or coconut, we would surely not like it or it would be bland, so used are we to their substitutes.

My advice in cooking every day is to recover the usual flavors, natural and without excess. Let's avoid artificial flavorings as much as possible, and if we use them, let's do it with moderation and common sense, to improve the dish without hiding its genuine flavor.

Image | Flickr Ice Cream | Soy Flickr | Flickr broth
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