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Play With Your Palette!

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Play With Your Palette!

Part two of the Sensory Experience Series

So you’re making dinner… What does this look like in your home? Maybe it’s a quick prep and pasta? Maybe a gourmet 2-course masterpiece? Maybe you’ve had a long day and it’s all just a means to an end- a frenzied, cheesy, pizaa-y end. Fair enough. This is how I make tacos. I can barely wait for that first crunch it’s so gooood! Sometimes you just want to eat your hand, and a quick throw-together is better than fast food so kudos to you for making it to your kitchen! But let’s talk about the times when we do have a minute to savor. This can be a really cool experience. I urge you here, to enjoy it.

In the second part of this Sensory Experience Series, I’d like to dive into your spice cabinet and explore the produce section, even if virtually!

Part 2 - SEE

I tend to cook without a book. I have learned to take notes for future reference because I am known to make meals difficult to recreate, and this can be a bummer when it turns out to be AH-mazing and I want to make it again. Even so, I don’t go off notes and I don’t use a recipe, typically. And when I do, it’s not a strict guide, but rather a …suggestion. This allows me to play with my palette, be creative and have a lot of fun!

Over time, you learn your spices and you know how to combine them to get unique flavor profiles. But you have to pay attention! This is important. Mindfulness. Here is a good exercise to help you appreciate the components of any meal, and as a result enjoy the meal itself so much more. You will learn to have a new appreciation for even the simplest of cuisine.

Break it Down

When you cook, what do you pay the most attention to? Cooking directions? Measurements? It’s difficult to appreciate all of the components of a working machine when it’s running. If you want to get inside and look round, you’d be wise to turn it off first. This is my suggestion- slow it down. What does this mean? Well, when you’re measuring and reading a recipe and trying not to burn the onions it’s hard to appreciate the smell of the garlic you’re measuring as the next addition. Here are the two steps I follow to make sure I savor what’s really going into my meal:

1 - READ

Look over your recipe once without doing anything. Make sure you have all of the ingredients and tools you need. (I often forget to let butter get room temperature when I bake- looking ahead keeps you from being stuck at a point of no return ill-equipped). Once you’ve checked you list and understand your adventure, gather your ingredients and:


This is my favorite part. Make note of the steps you need to take when prepping or when adding ingredients. See if there’s anything you can do ahead of time to make the process run more smoothly and take some of the busy-work out of the actual cooking process. For example, can you pre-cook some chicken? Or measure out herbs or spices? This last bit is the most fun. If you have a list of spices and herbs, try measuring them out in advance.

I measure the spices into a shallow dish. The colors can be quite gorgeous. I make a Moroccan dish that involves tumeric, saffron, dried mustard and white pepper… To see these colors together, it’s like a rich tapestry. Once you have them measured and parred off, take minute to savor.

Once you are ready to cook they are already measured so you just add them as directed. This makes it easier to keep an eye on what’s cooking too. Once you add the spices, notice: does it change the color of the dish? How? Adding turmeric to a dish makes it take on this deep mustard yellow just like the spice. My chili is always a more rich tone of red because of this. it’s fun to add to cauliflower or white beans as well.

Color-Coded Produce

There are also some fun guidelines when it comes to the different colors of the rainbow represented in our produce. There are many fun charts that reference the different benefits of the different colors. Of course these charts are usually not exhaustive, but it’s a fun way to think about our food. An example below is themed in beauty and skin health. The chart shows which elements of certain types of produce fight wrinkles and strengthen skin, for example.

All of the bright colors in our produce come from bioflavonoids and other antioxidants and vitamins that occur naturally in our food. That’s why we’re urged to eat the rainbow! The brightest colored foods have the most nutrients!


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