A Maturing Palate
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
When I started culinary school, I hated food.
I was the pickiest eater I knew, I made the same dozen dishes over and over, and I murderously applied salt and butter to everything. I loved being in the kitchen, I loved watching people cook and I think a part of me wanted more out of my food. I remember watching my father prepare wonderfully simple dishes, that at the time I thought they were so complicated, so impossible. He would open the fridge and select (seemingly) random items and make something incredible. Now the picky eater that I was, I of course, didn’t like anything, but, there was something captivating about how everyone in the room lit up with excitement when he was in the kitchen. The same thing happened when either of my grandmas were in the kitchen. They were all so comfortable ‘throwing’ ingredients together and ending up with masterpieces that had everyone treating any meal like thanksgiving. Unable to stop until the stomach pains stepped in with a recommendation for nap time.
In that first week of culinary school the chef had us all stop using any salt for 1 week, as a way to reset our palates. By the end of that week I realized how boring my food was
I realized how little flavor I had experienced in my life. I was ready for something new.
I’m sharing this because I know I am not alone. In fact, I know that this is the majority of people in America today. Our palates have been abused with our frozen entrees, fast food, chemical additives, hormones, colorings, high fructose corn syrup, and it just keeps going.
Take a moment to think about what your meals in the last week looked like. What colors are on your plate? What flavor enhancers are you using? When is the last time you tried something new? Are you bored with your food? How many items in your pantry have ingredients on the label that you cannot pronounce?
Please don’t misunderstand, butter and salt are wonderful and often times necessary flavor enhancers. Even our bodies require salt and fat to work properly, we are simply getting far too much of them. These things should be used to compliment the flavor of the food not to deprive you of it. Most home cooks don't use fresh herbs because they do not know how, but we can learn.
Intimidation by such simple ingredients is one reason we stick with the same boring ol' flavors.
As my palate has matured there are very few things I dislike, and most of those are due to texture. I am blessed with an unlimited world of flavors and foods. This has all led to the appreciation of the home cooked meal, a respect for ingredients and a desire to try new things.
This is usually the part where people throw their hands up with an elaborate, “I don’t have time for all that!”
I understand. I do not cook dinner every night and I do not spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals for the week. Depending on the menu, dinner takes me 30-60 minutes to prepare and I usually make enough so we have leftovers the following day. And I have plenty of delicious recipes that take 15 minutes to prepare.
Please do not fear time; cooking only takes the amount of time you choose to spend on it.
If you are ready to get something different, something more from your food then now is the time to start.
My mission is to give you the tools to become more confident in the kitchen. To learn how to respect your ingredients and therefore get the most out of them. To learn how to use the tools in your own kitchen.
I want you to develop a long lasting passion for food; that is how culinary school changed my life.
Comment below if you want more.