According to Taste
There’s the adage “flavor your food according to taste” or “add flavorings to whatever you’re cooking according to taste”.
This adage isn’t applicable to baking since cooking (your favorite dish) isn’t the same as baking a cake. Baking involves exact measurements especially for the dry and wet ingredients. Although some do try to taste raw batter just to get their own precise taste, particularly the sweetness, this is not a very good idea.
Health-wise, you wouldn’t want to get sick because of eating raw flour and egg mixture, right? So, follow the recipe and measurements of baked goodies when you’re using a recipe book or an online resource.
In cooking, there’s the benefit of tasting already cooked (often, already simmered) dish while still bubbling away on top of a stove. Small estimated portions of the flavorings, like salt and pepper, are added when meat or fish requires boiling in broth. This is to infuse a bit of flavor which makes the meat or fish more pleasing to eat when completely cooked.
Soup- or broth-based dishes always require the meat to be slowly simmered in order for it to cook ’til fork tender and to flavor the broth. A little bit of salt and pepper are added in the pot of water with meat.
Once the meat is tender, other ingredients are added and left to simmer until cooked. Adding flavorings such as salt, soy/fish sauce, and other spices are done when the dish is usually halfway done. This is the time to taste the dish’s broth, so you can make the necessary adjustments.
Below are just some of the common mistakes that home cooks (usually newbies) make when flavoring their dishes:
- They’re always in a hurry to add the rest of the flavorings. Some even dump the flavorings at one point during the cooking process. Doing so destroys the flavor profile and they end up having a too salty or too spicy dish.
- Some cooks don’t taste the food they’re cooking. I’m not sure why, but I’ve encountered a few people I know who do this and would argue that a dash of this and that are enough to flavor the dish. Hmm, no wonder they always have lots of leftover food in the fridge.
- They give it a taste and say “pwede na to” or in English “that’s okay” or “that’s enough”. Not really. In cooking, we cannot have that “bahala na” or “come what may” attitude. It can lead to food wastage, additional food expense (since people in your home will look for outside food sources, a.k.a. takeouts!), and you feeling upset ‘coz no one wants to eat what you’ve cooked.
- Dipping their index finger in the boiling broth. Aside from the fact that a finger is not a kitchen utensil, you’ll get major burn marks on your finger and you won’t get any flavor just by doing so. Get a spoon and scoop at least a half-full of broth, so you’ll be able to taste the flavor/s.
There are still people who cook and not taste the food they are cooking. Some may not have the right approach and/or the passion for cooking, and just do it because it’s an obligation.
In cooking, the right attitude is always part of the process especially if this is your primary task. Whether cooking is a profession or a responsibility, flavoring food according to taste is key to making your dishes appetizing, delicious, and enjoyable.