Second, by the right application of heat and moisture to bring out the natural flavors in each food. The steeping of tea instead of boiling, the browning of the coffee berry and cocoa bean before they are ground, the flavor developed by long cooking in cases like the baking of beans and steaming of puddings and brown bread. Sometimes a portion of the nutritive value is sacrificed to flavor, as in the browning of the outer surface of the steak or roast.
Third, by the use of many additional flavoring materials to intensify natural flavors to supply deficiencies and to produce variety.
Salt is useful as a preservative, seems to supply a need in the human system and therefore is an agreeable addition, but it also serves to bring out natural flavors. As an illustration of this power, taste of a meat or chicken broth that is unsalted, and again after salting, when the flavor of the meat will be much more apparent. For this purpose salt is often eaten with fruits, is added in minute quantities to lemon and other jellies made with gelatine, to custards, ice creams, and often even to coffee.
Lemon juice is also an aid in extending other flavor and is acceptable with many foods, especially fish.
Salt, pepper, lemon, and onion are the extent of the flavors used in some households, and food need not be insipid if no others are tried, but it is wiser to make occasional use of the long list of condiments and spices.
The distinction as usually made is that the condi-meats pepper, mustard, etc., are used with meats, while spices, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc., are associated with fruits and sweets, but this classification has exceptions. Spices are neglected nowadays and it often seems as if people hardly were acquainted with any other flavor for dessert dishes than Manilla. The list of flavoring herbs is a long one, running through sage, thyme, majoram, summer savory, bay leaves, tarragon and parsley, which are used dry or fresh, to the green mint, cress, and salad plants which are condimental rather than nutritive.
There are many compound flavors which every housekeeper should keep in her store closet, and use in her cooking instead of supplying a single perennial :catsup on the table, such are curry, tabasco, tarragon vinegar, mushroom catsup, poultry seasoning, etc.
Sugar is an important food and also must be looked upon as a flavor, since it will often bring an insipid vegetable up to its normal condition.
Common Flavoring Material
Condiments and Spices
Sugar as Flavoring
French cooking excels in that blending of flavors which produces an agreeable effect, though no one is apparent.
The best results are usually reached when the flavoring is combined with the food in the process of cooking, but there are right and wrong ways of doing this. If salt is put on the cut surface of a roast, juice will be drawn out, but if sprinkled over the fat will gradually flavor all. Whole herbs and spices, tied in a bit of cheese cloth may be left to cook in a soup stock or brown gravy until the desired flavor is attained and then withdrawn, leaving the stock clear. Ground spices would give a cloudy effect.
The use of flavors is economic, for thus inexpensive foods are varied and made palatable. It is a part of the art of cooking, since nowhere are greater skill and intelligence required than in the distribution of these elusive yet powerful substances, and by discrimination in the. use of condiments and spices our foods may be made more healthful.
Reasons for the Use of Flavoring