Simplicity and Complexity

Simpler is usually better. Some cooks mistakenly think that adding more ingredients is always preferable to adding fewer. But the more flavors you combine, the harder you have to work to balance them all. Further, the more competing flavors you have, the more you have to take care that the primary flavors of the main ingredients don't get lost.

This is true whether you are planning the ingredients in a single recipe or the components on a plate. Some cooks are tempted to put too many things on a plate.When you have a meat item perched on layers of three or four vegetables and starches, with additional garnishes and two or three sauces, the result is often a confused jumble.

It would be incorrect, however, to say that simpler is always better. Classic dishes from many of the world's regions have complex flavor profiles. Look through any collection of recipes from India, China, or Mexico,and you will find dishes that use a large number of spices and other flavoring ingredients.The recipe for mole poblano on page 409 is an example.When these dishes work, all the ingredients blend well. In a good curry, for example, it is difficult, if not impossible, to taste each of the individual spices.

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