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There are about 10,000 taste buds on your tongue right now. Each one has a receptor that reacts to different substances and makes it possible for you to taste the foods you eat. There are five elements of taste: sour, bitter, salty, savory, and sweet.  But did you know you can desensitize your taste buds?  The American diet today is almost all processed foods and/or fast type foods.   That’s why when people try and switch over to  ‘healthy’ diet from an average American diet they can’t do it. Well, most  people can’t or won't do it. The reason why is that these people are so used to adding stuff to their foods, or eating highly processed, sugar-loaded, fat-loaded, grease-loaded, overall-bad-for-you types of foods. This literally is killing your taste buds!

I am all about flavors.   If your food is not flavorful then why bother?   I always had people tell me that my food always had more flavor than anywhere else.   It's because I TASTE as I cook, and you should too.  I don't overload my dishes or use a lot of 'artificial' ingredients.  The natural flavors of the foods and seasonings come through.

If you learn anything from me, please let it be to TASTE as you go.  It's the best way to know what is going on with what you are cooking.  I don't know how you can make a meal and not taste what you cook.   Maybe that's why people tell me their food just doesn't come out right.Taste & Smell

My advice to you would be to cook a recipe that you have made many times and you know it is going to come out the way you want it to.       Start tasting that recipe at every step along the way and notice how the taste changes as ingredients are added and the food cooks to meld the flavors together.

Then cook that recipe again and start to play with the flavors.  Use a different herb, or spice, or more, or less, more salt or less salt or more pepper or less pepper and really TASTE as you go along.    As you do this you will be educating your palette as to what goes with what and what you like and dislike.

If you've tasted a dish at a favorite restaurant (not a fast food joint) and you want to make it at home and recreate it's flavor, find a recipe for a similar dish and make it.  Taste along the way, add or subtract  or more or less of the recipe seasonings till you find that flavor you remember.

Don't forget your sense of SMELL as well.    SMELL what you are cooking before you taste it.   The nose and the tongue are working in tandem here.  You can smell the seasonings and spices as well as taste them....and the combination will help guide you to the flavors you are looking for.  It is appropriate that we consider taste and smell together because they are so intertwined in our experience that most people are unaware that most of what they call taste is really an olfactory experience. The sensations evoked by a substance put into the mouth are complex and involve much more than taste.  

Have you ever wondered why food loses its flavor when you have a cold? It's not your taste buds' fault. Blame your stuffed-up nose. Seventy to seventy-five percent of what we perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell. Taste buds allow us to perceive only bitter, salty, sweet, and sour flavors. It's the odor molecules from food that give us most of our taste sensation.   Without that interplay of taste and smell, you wouldn't be able to grasp complex flavors.  Did you think that the spaghetti and meatballs you were  eating tasted delicious? Much of the reason is because you like the smell. In fact, you're doing a lot of sniffing. Not only are you smelling before you take a bite, but while you are chewing, odor molecules from the ground-up food inside your mouth float upwards taking that remarkable smell journey.

Now you know why people who love wines do that  swirl, smell, swirl and taste thingy too!!

So as you cook, please remember to TASTE and SMELL along the way as you are preparing the meal.  Not only is it more fun, your cooking will get better and better as you go along.