Defining Delicious - It's OK to be Bitter
Andrew here again with another segment of Defining Delicious.
There have been many questions and speculations on the working of the "taste sliders" within the recipe page "Taste" drop-down. There has also been a good deal of chatter that these sliders are wrong and we have no idea what we are doing... Now I'm not bitter about this, but my tastes are and I am fine with that.
The sliders are meant to be a reference on what "taste direction" you want to go. They are NOT meant to be absolutes. If we look at the taste sliders we see seven different positions for each: Hate, Really Dislike, Dislike, No Preference, Like, Really Like, and Love.
As you can see, there are no numbers or percentages for each position, but only subjective terms. So, the question then becomes, "What do the taste sliders mean?" In a nutshell, the further to the right a slider is located, the higher a recipe is returned in search for having high amounts of that taste. While conversely, the further to the left slider a slider is located, the higher a recipe is returned in search for having low amounts of that taste. These sliders represent the relative amount of each taste you would like to have (or not) in your recipe.
What does this mean in real life usage of the taste sliders. Let's start with an example that we can all easily relate to: Think of something that is very sour and very sweet. What first pops into my mind are fruit ices. like lemon or raspbery sorbet. So when we do this search we find these recipes, along with things like fruit sauces, jams, and jellies.
Next, let's try looking for a dessert on the bitter side; what comes up are things with a lot of chocolate. The first thing that comes to mind is that the chocolate bar I had earlier did not seem bitter, it actually tasted sweet. What you most likely had was "milk chocolate", but if we try a bit of baking or unsweetened chocolate, we can taste how bitter cocoa is on it's own.
Finally, let's see how we can move across the spectrum from one set of recipes to another by a simple taste change. We start with barbecue style sauces. These are mainly sauces and rubs that are salty, sour, and sweet, to impart flavor to the meat they are seasoning. Now, let us take the level of salt down to a much lower level. We are now back to the bitter chocolate deserts that we had seen in the previous example. So we seem to be saying that the taste differences between meat sauces and a class chocolate desert is only the amount of salt in the recipe, or did somebody say Mole.
Let's remember one thing here, the taste sliders only cover the five tastes of a recipe. They do not account for differences in the food coming from things like aroma and spiciness. So give the Taste sliders a try, and see how your tastes stack up.