Seasoning And Flavoring Ingredients

The preceding discussion of flavor building concerns all ingredients that add flavor to or change the flavor of a dish.These include the primary ingredients and the supporting or secondary ingredients.The remainder of this chapter is concerned primarily with herbs and spices as well as common flavoring ingredients such as onion, garlic, and mustard.

To repeat the most important concept of flavoring, the main ingredients are the primary sources of flavor. Use good-quality main ingredients, handle all foods with care, and employ correct cooking procedures. Remember that herbs and spices play only a supporting role. Badly prepared foods can't be rescued by a last-minute addition of herbs and spices.

Although chefs do not always use the terms this way, it might be said that there is a difference between seasoning and flavoring. Seasoning means enhancing the natural flavor of a food without significantly changing its flavor. Salt is the most important seasoning ingredient. Flavoring means adding a new flavor to a food, thus changing or modifying the original flavor.

The difference between seasoning and flavoring is often one of degree. For example, salt is usually used only to season, not to flavor. But in the case of potato chips or pretzels, the salt is so predominant that it can be considered an added flavoring. On the other hand, nutmeg is normally used for its distinctive flavor, but just a dash can perk up the flavor of a cream sauce without being detectable to most people.

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