Flavor is my primary interest
here’s some stuff I’ve done and written about it
#Wednesdaynightwineclub Ponders the Question: Are Wine Flavor Descriptions Bullshit? From Lucky Peach: The Suburbs Issue
Wine is fun and delicious and gets you loose in style. It’s also enigmatic, a record of the inter- play of humans, landscape, fruit, yeast, and a multitude of other contributors over long periods of time. And so while everyone can agree that wine is deli- cious, there are many long-standing, passionate, semi-drunken debates over exactly what tastes so good.
Flavor is what we’re all after—it
is what separates a mediocre cheese from an amazing one, an indifferent coffee from one worth twenty dollars a pound, and the wine that you drank as a broke college student from what you order at Per Se.
Humans have sensitive biochemical systems for experiencing flavors, but
it can be challenging to find the right words to describe those experiences. Anyone who has floundered at a coffee cupping or wine tasting while other participants rattle off “not orange candy, but candied orange” and “peach pound cake” and “reading an old book in a leather armchair in front of a fire” knows what I’m talking about. A paper I like
in the Annual Review of Psychology puts it like this: “Humans are astonishingly good at odor detection and discrimina- tion; humans are astonishingly bad at odor identification and naming.” more
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Casilda Flores Morales, the late Oaxacan horchata matriarch, earned the epithet "empress of refreshment, the heiress of the alchemy and secrets of almond, chilacayota and chia."
Horchatas are straightforward to make and an excellent canvas for refreshing experimentation. Consider the almondy neo-horchata-plus-cold-brew beverage called Horchoffee at Jessica Koslow's East Hollywood toast shop Sqirl. What connects all these diverse horchatas, and can help you attain empress-of-refreshment skills yourself, are the phenomena of extraction and suspension.
Horchata manages to be creamy without containing any milk or cream. Creaminess, as fans of almond milk and coconut yogurt are aware, doesn't actually require dairy, but rather the thickening effect of having large molecules of starch, protein and/or fat suspended in a background of water.
Los Angeles Times
Onion ash, burnt coconut and seaweed — restaurants in L.A. and around the world get creative with flavored oils
The phrase "flavored oils" might conjure images of Italian-ish garlic and herb oils, chile oils to dress Sichuan dishes or maybe supermarket truffle oils. But there are some new players on the scene that are changing the concept: deep green pine oils and dill oils, intense and dimensional rose oils, oils flavored with not-previously considered-edible things such as aromatic woods, onion ash or hay. In the kitchens of creative restaurants around the world, infused oils let cooks add a precise dose of concentrated, blendable flavor to any dish. Think of them as a customizable, flavor-capture-and-delivery technique — or maybe cocktail bitters for food.