Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Steve's take on the tagine

I really liked it...sure it was a little less Moroccan than I expected and turned out more like a regular old stew. But that's not the worst thing that could have happened. The meat turned out nice and tender and the potatoes and veggies had a nice texture.

Now, about how Des normally "overspices the shit out of things." First of all, that quote may have been taken out of context, but in truth, Des is a good cook and I like her food. She occasionally falls victim, however, to the same misconception that led to the creation of Coke 2.

See, back in the day, Pepsi had its infamous blind taste test challenge where people were asked to take sips of both Coke and Pepsi (having no knowledge of which is which) and then decide which they liked better. The majority of blind taste testers chose Pepsi after this test, and Coke got very alarmed by the results. So they directed their chemists or cola-ologists to create a cola that would win in a blind taste test against Pepsi. The result was Coke 2. Unfortunately for CocaCola, Coke 2 was a massive flop, and there was a people's uprising to pull the nasty crap off of the shelves and put old Coke (now called CocaCola Classic) back on the market.

What does this have to do with anything? The lesson here is that a blind sip test is not the correct measure of a beverage's overall flavor quality...Because you don't just sip a soda, you drink the whole thing. For more on this, read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

This same principle applies when cooking. You don't necessarily know if the dish needs more spice just from a small taste test. When you eat the whole dish, the spices compound on you and pack a lot more kick than they do in a little taste. This is why great chefs require a combination of talent and experience.

Anyway, like I said, Des is a great chef, and the tagine dish is not going to end up in the garbage, but we will know next time to let her follow her instinct and go a little heavier on the spices.


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