I recently found myself reading a book called “The Elements of Taste”.  This book is absolutely amazing!  It helps us understand how to blend, balance, and make your favorite dishes ignite without flavors fighting for each other’s attention.  For the aspiring home chef, this book is a must read!  I am going to explain some critical elements of taste that will help us control our dishes.

But first….it is important to know that (we) home chefs don’t create from recipes, we create from tastes.   We start off with the best of what is available and then turn to our intuition and memories to figure out what might be done with those ingredients.  For instance, one day my family and I were walking in our neighborhood and we noticed a very familiar smell.  I shut my eyes and reminisced through childhood memories!  After smelling the aroma in the air, I started to notice all of the ingredients one by one!  I put the recipe together in my head, and I knew that it was good ole’ Stuffed Green Peppers.

Heinrich Family Tradition

All of us can say that we have those childhood memories of what our parents made for us, whether we liked it or not.  If you really thought about it, I bet all of us could write the recipe down, and make it by just relying on our memory and flavors that we memorized from our young days!

I challenge everyone who is reading this to write down their childhood taste, smell, flavors, etc!  Then take those elements, and create it for your family!  Create those memories for the new generations to come.  I love it when my kids come downstairs and say, “Daddy, you are making Chicken Paprikash?!” (Especially my son, Ethan….since he loves the dumplings!)

A chef’s memories of taste lie at the base of any new recipe.  You have a taste in your mind: an idea that it would go well, cooked in a certain way, or combined with a certain herb, and then you try that idea!  You add ingredients and seasonings, reduced pan juices, maybe some lemon juice or wine, honey or sugar.  Like a music composer, you look for themes, motifs, and most important harmonies!

Please comment with your childhood smells, tastes, and flavors, and let’s share as a community how we can create memories of taste for generations to come!

Jacob Thaller Ritenour



Join the discussion One Comment

  • Jacob says:

    I can’t wait to share more about memories of taste! Looking forward to sharing and talking about your thoughts as well!

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