Opposites attract, even in taste buds

In the run-up to my trip to Mozambique to work on a protein project in the central and then northern regions of the country, a friend sent a link to the article: Science has Figured Out the Simple Reason Why Indian Food Tastes So Good, the reading of which has saved me from contemplating my carry-on bag yet again (do I really need compression socks for the plane?).

The article by Dennis Green in Business Insider says American cuisine pairs like-flavors in dishes, but not-so in India. Data researchers analyzed 2,500 recipes of Indian regional food and found it’s all about using spices without overlapping their flavors. This, my mother could have told you.

“So what makes the flavors meld so well in your mouth is by delicate design,” Green says. “Every spice and ingredient has a purpose, and they all work together in harmony to produce the taste of the dish.”

It’s all about balance. I’d add that the spices not only delight your taste buds but keep your health in balance as well. Sweet, hot, pungent, bitter–I, for one, can never get enough. This is the lure of opposites, of rejoicing in differences, of a life not mellow.

I’ll be checking out the Mozambique markets and foods to see where they fall on this spectrum of food preparation ideals. What’s your fancy?

See the full article here: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-indian-food-tastes-good-2015-3


About ninafurstenau

Nina Mukerjee Furstenau teaches a Food and Wine Writing for the University of Missouri Science and Agriculture Journalism program and the MU School of Journalism School. Her book, Biting Through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America's Heartland was the winner of the MFK Fisher Book Award and Grand Prize Award for culinary/culture writing and designated as a Kansas Notable Book. She has also written Savor Missouri: River Hill Country Food and Wine, celebrating Missouri foodways. Her essay, "And Then There Was Rum Cake," appears in the 2017 anthology, Pie & Whiskey: Writer's Under the Influence of Butter and Booze. Ms. Furstenau was in the Peace Corps in Tunisia from 1984 to 1986 and then began working life as a journalist and publisher/editor of three construction magazines beginning in 1987. Ms. Furstenau and her husband launched and published these magazines and two others until 2001. She was a month-long resident at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, in 2008.
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5 Responses to Opposites attract, even in taste buds

  1. Hector Lahera says:

    Mozambique! How interesting. I’d imagine its recipes are influenced by all the currents in the Indian ocean. I really look forward to your commentary. Good luck to you; and thank you.



    • Hi Hector, thanks so much! I loved the trip to Mozambique and it was a treat to meet and eat with the fine people I met there.

      • Hector Lahera says:

        Welcome home. I look forward to your future articles.
        I spent 40+ years as an international traveler: wear the compression socks.
        From your perspective, do the billions in aid the US and the EU sent Mozambique since the end of the civil war show?

  2. Hector, I think all that aid does show. My colleagues who have worked in Mozambique much longer than I felt a real sense of change. From my end, I saw sustainable communities and healthy children. I also saw healthy livestock in the small villages. In the north, I saw mobility and vast ag investment. It was much different there a few years ago from my understanding. Not only is it beautiful, but seems on the brink of a new era. I hope they are able to hold on to some of their old touchstones/community life/customs in the process.

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