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From Simple and Distinct to Complex and Melded

Knowing how foods blend is key to appreciating the dish

Fine Cooking Issue 02
Illustration: Joyce Kitchell
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Ever heard of a sensory analyst? In this thoughtful article, Gail Vance Civille organizes food into four categories according to how appearance, texture, and flavor interact and are perceived by the diner. For instance, why does stew improve over time, but Chinese food tastes terrible the next day? Civille’s first group is a fusion of flavors – like curries. Highly blended foods that are cooked together for a long time, intermingling to result in a single impression. Another grouping is stir-fry; foods processed together for a shorter time don’t completely blend for a unified sensory experience. This might be the only article in which ratatouille and fruit-at-the-bottom yogurt are included in the same sentence! Whether you’re researching sensory issues or are a casual taste tourist, this article has an interesting perspective on dining.


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