The Bold Flavours Of World Cuisines

Apr 9, 2018 | Food and Culture

I grew up in a rural area of eastern Canada. Like most people growing up outside of cities, I was not exposed to many world cuisines. We ate a lot of meat and potatoes and occasionally we would eat fish. The food was bland in colour and in taste. To be clear, my mother was a great cook, but she cooked western food. She would occasionally cook westernized Chinese food but that’s about as far as it went.

World cuisines like Indian, Mexican, Chinese, and Carribean, carry with them a vibrancy that food of European decent just doesn’t have.

When it comes to food there is, of course, a time for subtlety. Delicate, light tastes have their place. However, given the choice between a light, delicate flavour and a big bold one, nine times out of ten I’m going bold. World cuisines like Indian, Mexican, Chinese, and Carribean, carry with them a vibrancy that food of European decent just doesn’t have. It’s not the Europeans fault, they used what they had to develop their foods.

Admittedly, some of the dishes from these areas of the world will burn your face off.

I’m telling you this because I have realized that even today, in 2018, there are so many people who are terrified to try food from these areas of the world. The assumption being that it is going to be too hot. Admittedly, some of the dishes from these areas of the world will burn your face off. And yes, they are the best ones. However, there are many, many dishes that are not “hot” they are simply packed with flavour.

I will just say that developing my tolerance for hot food has been one of the most liberating culinary journeys of my life. I highly recommend you take that journey.

The food is exciting. It is fun to eat.

Often times, world cuisines are much more balanced than European food. The balance comes from playing with sweetness, and spice, heat, and acidity. The food is exciting. It is fun to eat. I think eating and experiencing these types of foods will change how you cook. It doesn’t even matter if you cook these foods or not. Just by eating them you will become a better cook.

It was like that scene from the Matrix when Neo starts to see to the matrix itself.

The first time I ate authentic Mexican food I was blown away. It wasn’t greasy. I didn’t feel disgusting afterward. The flavours were fresh and clean. This was much different than the “Mexican” I had grown up eating. This experience was repeated with Indian food, and Chinese food, and countless other cuisines. It triggered an awakening within me. It was like that scene from the Matrix when Neo starts to see to the matrix itself. Reflecting on it now that is the only way I can describe it. I was living with blinders on and now I wasn’t.

My experiences with these types of flavours changed how I cook. Even if I’m not cooking foods from these areas of the world I carry the basic principles of those cuisines with me. Bold, vibrant, fresh flavours, balanced with acidity, sweetness, and spice. Contrast of taste and colour.

Don’t be afraid.

I think the biggest takeaway from this should be that if you want to be a better cook, you need to eat better food. Don’t be afraid. Your fear of heat, or whatever it is, is holding you back from some of the greatest culinary experiences the world has to offer. And It’s holding you back from being the best cook you can be.

 

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