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3 Most Important Elements of a Plate...


emhahn
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Strange how Steve P is dismissing science when just a few months ago he predicted science would bring accurate langauge to the dining experience:

Excuse me for saying this but, this is only the case because we have left evaluating food to the subjectivity of diners. If before you ordered a steak, they brought a few dozen examples and you were able to plate one and do a quick lab sample to see what had the most trace substances in it, how we refer to food would change. We wouldn't need shortcuts like the word complexity because we would be able to say that my steak was delicious because it had x%blah, y%bleh, and z%bluh combined with a 9% fat content that was spread evenly across the steak. And I am sure that one day eating will entail that process. But until that happens, we use shortcuts to describe things. And pointing out that the terminology is flawed when held up to a scientific standard doesn't tell us anything. Jan, 23, 03

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...0analysis&st=30

In the above Steve P seems to be saying that science would provide empirical evidence explaining why a dish tasted delicious.

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Actually I kind of agree with SP here (yikes). I think there probably are people who really can ignore -- or counteract - the distorting effects of preconceptions and other information and just focus on the taste at a quite pure effect.

I never really doubted that that's possible. I don't know where it gets us, though. It doesn't respond to the question of whether presentation can affect taste.

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But didn't I just say that a few posts back?

"The art of food and wine appreciation revolves around people who have the cognitive ability to determine what is good and what is not. All science ever does is explain why they feel that way about it. "

And if I had my taste in steak plotted out, or examples of great tasting steaks that other people recommended plotted out, I would go into The Palm and order a steak based on those coordinates, providing that they listed them on the menu that way. But that still means that the standard for what is delicious is based on what humans like to eat. And what connoiseurs notice is good :wink:.

You should find some connoisuers to hang around with Yvonne. You'd eat better :raz:.

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But that still means that the standard for what is delicious is based on what humans like to eat. And what connoiseurs notice is good  :wink:.

...which can be affected by extraneous factors, such as presentation.

("The world is a circle, with no beginning, and nobody knows where it really ends...")

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What you said a few posts back on this thread was that "all science ever does is explain why they feel that way about it" (the meaning of which I don't understand), and you suggest science isn't very useful.

A few months ago (in the part I quoted) you said that people's ability to identify the elements in dishes lacks the sophistication of a scientific analysis. Therefore, science is useful.

And I eat fine. In the main, at the same NY places that you frequent.

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Actually I kind of agree with SP here (yikes). I think there probably are people who really can ignore -- or counteract - the distorting effects of preconceptions and other information and just focus on the taste at a quite pure effect.

I never really doubted that that's possible. I don't know where it gets us, though. It doesn't respond to the question of whether presentation can affect taste.

I think we all agree that it can and that it does. I think the arguments about objectivity versus subjectivity of taste have been largely abandoned. The situation is after all rather clear, notwithstanding a certain ambiguity in the use of the word 'taste'.

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It means, science explains what connoiseurs notice. Science might be able to tell you what about a Monet enraptures people, but it can't do anything useful with that information to make great art on it's own. It's organic. People need to point science in the right direction. But nowhere did I mean to imply that there isn't a proper place for science. It just can't act in a vacuum.

But you don't get to go to the special, secret places that we connoiseurs go to and aren't allowed to tell anyone about. Ahem

Edited by Steve Plotnicki (log)
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("The world is a circle, with no beginning, and nobody knows where it really ends...")

Riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs . . .

But that's shorter and easier to understand.

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please:

this is not about supertasters. neither is it about extreme conditions nor ingeneous ways of cheating us into thinking we taste something we don't. its about normal, or relatively normal conditions in the art of cooking and eating well .

and regarding these conditions, i think plotz and i have said what is sensible and true. those disagreeing have wasted a lot of energy fighting ghosts. re-reading what we've said, i don't even think that we've been unclear, except perhaps where we've been lured into semi-scientific sophistry. :wink:

dixit. :raz:

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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I can see no evolutionary reason why an ability to analyze taste independently of other cues should have arisen. Taste memory can operate without visual clues but it will only do so if there  are no visual cues.

Well, since it doesn't enhance survival of the species, perhaps it serves to thin the ranks - people who claim to have this super-ability are shunned and ridiculed, perhaps left at the watering hole muttering that they had better water at the last watering hole, while the rest of the pack has moved on?

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please:

this is not about supertasters. neither is it about extreme conditions nor ingeneous ways of cheating us into thinking we taste something we don't. its about normal, or relatively normal conditions in the art of cooking and eating well .

and regarding these conditions, i think plotz and i have said what is sensible and true. those disagreeing have wasted a lot of energy fighting ghosts. re-reading what we've said, i don't even think that we've been unclear, except perhaps where we've been lured into semi-scientific sophistry. :wink:

dixit. :raz:

You have it upside down, but I don't blame anyone who can't remember the first two or three pages. It was asserted way back then that extraneous considerations such as presentation could not affect taste experiences, because taste is determined by the actual food on the plate.

Offering examples of taste experiences not affected by extraneous influences is absolutely beside the point, and that's where the energy's been wasted. It's as if someone said "Wine can't get you drunk" and attempted to support it by citing instances of people drinking wine while remaining sober.

Oraklet: can anything other than food on the plate influence taste - ever, in any circumstances? And I don't mean weird stuff, I mean things like drinking wine after eating a bar of chocolate or tasting something subtle when you have a heavy cold. If yes, we agree and can move on.

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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Oraklet: can anything other than food on the plate influence taste - ever, in any circumstances? And I don't mean weird stuff, I mean things like drinking wine after eating a bar of chocolate or tasting something subtle when you have a heavy cold. If yes, we agree and can move on.

We all agreed to this pages ago. But we said, this isn't a likely scenario in the dining experience so what is the point of raising it?

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That's my issue, anyway.

You won't talk about my issue, so I won't talk about yours. Yah boo sucks :raz:

Now, now, Macrosan. Does it really befit someone your age to behave this way?

:raz::laugh:

I was just trying to express my self in a way that a young whippersnapper like Wilfrid would understand :laugh:

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I can't believe that this thread is still going on! (probably not helped by idiots like myself who insist on posting something and keeping it alive :biggrin: ) I left work yesterday at 5pm, and here at 10am the next day it is still top of the page!

Anyhow, I just wonder if someone could post a quick resume of what the major arguments are right now. As far as I see it it falls into two classes:

1) Those who think presentation affects the way we taste food

2) Those who say that presentation doesn't affect the way we taste food.

In both cases examples have been cited where specific groups of people can do one or another. For example we have heard about people whose palate is so well trained that they can taste food purely on its flavours alone, whithout being affected by other influences. We have also heard about examples where people have been fooled into thinking something tastes different based purely on its physical appearance.

Now the part where I get confused is: are the two opposing factions saying that the way they taste things is more correct (bad grammar?) than the other? If so, this is an argument that will never be resolved as each persons experience is a totally personal thing. Citing the example of art (as has been done many times in this argument) if a 'conniseur' looks at a painting by his favourite artist, and a mother looks at a painting by her child, they may both see the most beautiful thing in the world, but not think a great deal of the others picture. Does this then mean theat either one of them is more correct? NO. For each person it is a personal experience and as such can only be truly appreciated by them.

Therefore until we are all linked to a group mind and share exactly the same experiences when performing some action shouldn't we just enjoy the diversity that makes us individuals?

For those of you who taste no difference regardless of presentation, I salute your ability to do this, but at the same time, I hope that a didning experience doesn't become on fo just tasting food, but enjying the whole package.

For those of you whome presentation does affect the way you taste food (into which camp I do believe I fall) well come on over to my place for dinner as I do some wicked plating! :biggrin: and I always love a compliment.

John

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As far as I see it it falls into two classes:

1) Those who think presentation affects the way we taste food

2) Those who say that presentation doesn't affect the way we taste food.

You see, you got it wrong right at the start, JA :laugh:

The discussion is not about presentation affecting the way we taste food, but about presentation affecting the way food tastes.

You know what ? You and I should start up a new thread ..... :laugh:

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are the two opposing factions saying that the way they taste things is more correct (bad grammar?) than the other?

No that's not it. The gourmands are saying that one can be trained to not rely on visual clues. The scientists are saying that is impossible. And the gourmands respond to this by saying that 1) you are underestimating what gourmands do, and 2) even if you are right, as a practical matter of what occurs in the dining experience, the change in our perception will not be material. I'm not sure what the scientists response has been to this point because they insist on focusing on the finite answer, yes their could be a change, and not the practical conclusion which is that a change that is likely to happen in the context of the dining experience is immaterial so for all intensive purposes, the reasonable answer is no, it doesn't really change anything. But the desperation for science to win out over gourmandise is best exemplified by their clinging to the test results where wine tasting experts were given white wine with red food dye in it so they thought the wine was tannic. A situation that doesn't happen in a restaurant.

P.S. I love giving responses like this because I know Adam must be sitting around his office throwing darts at my picture :raz:.

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Macrosan, J Acord, when you start that new thread will you invite me?

Also, J Acord, welcome to the Mobius Strip.

Finally, to slightly modify what you said you thought this thread was about so that it now describes what I think this thread has become (see how careful the Mobius teaches you to be? Especially when you can look below and see Plotnicki watching you type :laugh: )

I confess with pride to speaking the words that drove FG nuts:

Good presentation can make good food taste better.

I'm sticking with it and I think most people here agree. FG vehemently did not but I think he's left.

So, now, I believe the thread has become a discussion about:

1) Those who think presentation affects the way we taste food and believe we have little or no control over the sensory reasons that it can

2) Those who say that presentation affects the way we taste food and believe that we have complete control over which sensory input we choose to add to our tasting function.

With the follow up conclusions that only untrained palates allow their minds to be lulled by distractions other than taste.

Macrosan, do you still want my answer to the Bresse chicken question? By the time I saw it and your "pout" moment a few million pages later, the thread had taken another twist.

Also, then the new million $ question:

food tastes=taste food?

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Okay, so there was a fundamental misunderstanding about what this thread was actually saying on my part. My bad :sad:

Secondly I just need to point out, I am also a scientist (my cards are now on the table).

I have written and re-written what I think I should say next a number of times, but have come to the conclusion that I am unable to answer this question. Science may well give examples where people have been tricked into tasting something different based on an items appearance (though I do think it is flawed to say that this doesn't happen in the restaurant setting, an example being some of the foodstuffs of Heston Blumenthal) suggesting that we eat with more than just the sense of taste. That is not to say that there are not people out there who can overcome this and can taste food purely based on the flavour alone. But for one group to deny the sensations of the other is ludicrous.

I must say though Steve, and this I find quite ironic, the ability to sit at a meal, eat food, separate the flavours into their component parts and all the while shut out other influences (presentation, ambience, etc.) sounds like a very scientific skill to me :laugh:

Indiagirl, if you can suggest a name, you are most cordially invited! :biggrin:

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the ability to sit at a meal, eat food, separate the flavours into their component parts and all the while shut out other influences (presentation, ambience, etc.) sounds like a very scientific skill to me.

but any gourmet will to some extend do that.

you are served the first course. you look at it. "looks kinda dull." you take a bite. "oh! this is strange...interesting...delicious, in fact. why?", and immediately you start analyzing it.

the chef does the same thing, only he works the other way round.

it's not a science. it's a craft.

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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