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February 28, 2012 / beatricebunny

Worst Cooks Season 3 Ep3

Spoilers right from the start, I guess.

This episode was about extreme flavors.  Basically, the contestants were supposed to pair two opposing flavors that compliment each other (sweet/salty, spicy/sweet, etc).  They were to use chicken and mashed potatoes or steak and potatoes as a base to present these recipes.

As we watched this episode, my husband and I tried to decide if these contestants seem even less skilled than previous years, or if we are becoming such better cooks that we are farther away from this level of ignorance.  I was frankly horrified by poor Sarina (“Cooking hates me”) and here apparent belief that salt and pepper are contrasting flavors.  I was slightly more frustrated with Bob though, and his apparent belief that you can cook without tasting your food.

To me, this doesn’t just fly in the face of knowing how to cook, it flies in the face of logic.  Cooking, at its core, is about taste.  Even if you are someone (as Bob is) who believes that food is fuel, you still have to provide fuel in a way that isn’t burnt, isn’t too spicy to eat, and isn’t absolutely disgusting.  How else does one achieve this except by tasting the food?  Who would, when faced with a dish that is too spicy, add a pepper without first tasting it to see if it is sweet or spicy?  At a minimum, all you have to do is smell the pepper.

Cooking is a sensory skill.  All really good cooks use their senses to create interesting flavor combinations, appealing plates, and amazing smells, but even mediocre cooks take the time to make sure that a dish tastes something like you planned.  This isn’t snobbery.  This isn’t about describing foods as one would wines or even developing a sophisticated palate.   This is simply about making sure that your food is edible.  If you aren’t going to do that, why cook at all?

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