Are we suffering from Bored Palates?

I just got through reading this article about how Americans are demanding more from their food flavorings. As I read along my reaction was this - we can thank the Food Network, the rise in the popularity of celebrity chefs and cooking shows for this. Americans have become foodies.

We love our television chefs, our reality cooking shows and we have become more sophisticated with regards to flavors and taste. We want more. That's the American way.

Of course, this shift in the food consciousness reaches out to the marketers and their response is to "pump up the volume" on their flavors. One chip manufacturer used the term "extreme" for it's new, hotter and more fiery chili flavored chips. Bolder was another term used. They are also tossing around the new foodie buzz word "Umami" like a ping pong ball. (Umami is a Japanese word that translates as "good flavor" and has been proposed as one of the basic taste sensations - which would include it among the original four: sweet, sour, salty and bitter.)

There's nothing wrong with extreme or bold, but, like the article stated, "As people crave intensity in flavor, some traditionalists are wondering if diners will become desensitized to natural flavors. Regular mangoes may taste bland when eaten next to mango-flavored gum or a mango energy drink, they say."

I find myself siding with this statement. I like new tastes, I welcome new flavor combinations and I love variety. But intensity is not the same as creativity - hotter & spicier is not the same as more flavorful and bold can sometimes become boring if you have too much of it.

And isn't Umami just a new, hip word for savory???

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1 comment:

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