I am not a cook, and this post is not about cooking, but it is about food and its appreciation.
This may sound a bit daft; but growing up, I didn’t particularly pay much attention to the food I was eating. Nor did anyone in my family; being on the eating-to-live side of the spectrum rather than the living-to-eat. As I have grown up, however, I have begun to enjoy food, eating, and the entire culture surrounding it; but my knowledge is superficial, and I really want to explore and learn more. There is a lot of scope for me to do so - so much is new to me at this stage.
I had these questions:
- How to identify and appreciate a well cooked dish? To know the various parameters to judge - flavour, texture, etc. To know when they are done correctly/done well. Including the understanding of the subtleties in the dish.
- In traditional cuisines, to know how a dish “should” taste; what its flavour or texture should be like.
- To know the things the chef did to make it that way: the ideas behind the dish, perhaps even the relevant technical aspects of cooking behind it.
- The above three points in particular relation to traditional cuisines; but: In addition to traditional cuisines, appreciating the work of a chef who comes up with new things, pushes the boundaries or breaks the rules.
As aforesaid, I am not a cook, and I am not actually interested in cooking myself; I wanted to ask this question from the point of view of someone who eats (and admires) food.
In a sense, my question is about how to understand and appreciate good art, rather than how to be an artist yourself.
Does this knowledge come only with eating out and trying a lot of things? Or cooking a lot? Are there any books which can help with this? Does reading books on cuisines, and recipe books, help? Any good websites or other resources on the Internet?
Any answers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!