Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is there a science of flavour combining?

You're probably familiar with versions of the colour wheel, first attempted by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666 (left) and since reworked in different ways (example, above).

But can the same be done for food and drink? One thinks of chef Heston Blumenthal's bizarre combinations - snail porridge, bacon and egg ice cream, etc - and wonders whether there is some underlying set of principles.
This seems to be far more difficult, because individual foods are a complex of flavour elements and besides, texture and appearance are important additional factors. Also, all these aspects can change as a result of how they are prepared and cooked. And there are hundreds of ingredients, subdivided into many varieties, so there is a dauntingly large number of potential combinations.
A recent book byNiki Segnit, "The Flavour Thesaurus", attempts a schema of selected foods - see page 8.
But you may find this website useful in your experiments - it allows you to input an ingredient and find a choice of partners for it.


Chuckles said...

Yup. Could be a food scientist or a food technologist, but also see

Paddington said...

How much of taste is cultural? I have had house specialties from several countries that were disgusting to me - sea urchin sushi comes to mind.