Friday, October 1, 2010

The Secret Ingredient

"A secret ingredient is one that mysteriously improves the flavor of a dish without calling attention to itself"--from Secret Ingredients, by Chef Michael Roberts
He mentions unlikely combinations such as vanilla and lobster, anise with tarragon chicken.
I love this quote that is part of an essay found in the Culinary Arts book I'm working through. On Cooking, Techniques from Expert Chefs by Sarah Lavensky and Alan Hause is 1100 pages of pure delight for the serious cook. Granted, it would probably deliver way more information that your typical heat-and-serve institutional cook planned on dealing with, but I'm enthralled by the photos, glossy pages and incredible information.
Anyways, back to the quote. Chef Michael goes on to explain how flavors are enhanced by combining secondary flavors with primary ones, and notes that "each ingredient has its own particular character, which is altered by every other ingredient it encounters."
This is so true for people as well. Every person has his/her own particular character, and is altered by every other person he/she encounters.
Every person is also altered by each activity or adventure they undertake.
And, as noted, it gives more depth to the food, to the person. We must interact to grow. The Internet, reading or watching television, causes us to encounter different flavors from around the world and we are altered.
Ah, but the Secret Ingredient! The one that mysteriously improves the flavor without calling attention to itself.
That's food for thought.
Lets be the secret ingredient in someone's life, helping to improve their life experience without calling attention to ourselves.

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