07:27 Friday 19 April 2013

New tastes or old?

Written byRoss Boardman

How many tastes are there? We all can recall sweet, sour, bitter and salt without much effort.

Quite a few of you will know all about umami. Heston has made us all aware of this 5th taste. Apparently, it’s “meatiness” or a kind of savoury that is hard to pin down. Chargrilled steak, mushrooms, MSG, soy sauce and Marmite all contain umami. Sat Bains uses a dab of Marmite to scallops to mess with your senses.

But what of other tastes? Some researchers are now suggesting metallic is a taste. Not sure that could be a good thing. As a child the only metallic taste was silver foil playing havoc with my fillings.

Have you heard the expression that “fat is where the flavour is”? This may also be a taste that could become official too. How come deep fried food tastes so good? It could be down to the contact and flavour from the fat.

The Texas State fair each year hosts a variety of food stands. Another nickname for the fair is the fried food capital of Texas. It seems you can fry pretty much everything. A big hit for Thanksgiving is deep fried turkey. Take a huge container, fill it full of oil and then put heat underneath. Ideally this is done outside. In goes the turkey.

Anyway, back to the State fair. A deep fried hot dog on a stick is not a far stretch of the imagination. Put a spiral of potato around it before it goes in the fryer and you have a one handed feast. How about deep fried... butter? You did read that correctly, butter that gets deep fried. This event happens once a year, so plenty of time to do healthy in between.

Can deep fried food be healthy? Japanese cooking is often seen as good for you and they do like a good fry up. Tempura is a national dish. Come full circle and back to Britain. Our nation’s most famous dish? Fish and chips. Deep frying at its best.

Ross Boardman is author of “101 Restaurant Secrets” and an award winning restaurateur.

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