2004.05.04-serial.00031

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Yeah. Oh, yeah, that's right. Yeah. Well, good afternoon. Oh, yeah, I snuck in the back way. Yeah. Sure. Yeah. No, it's fine. It's quite all right. Oh, yes, of course. Hi. Yes, you may. Something recorded. Oh, I wouldn't worry about it because, you know, I can always fill in the blanks. This picture that's in the tomato blessings is the one that I sent

[01:13]

them for my 40th High School reunion booklet. Most of the pictures in the 40th and 40th High School reunion book are not like this one. I didn't go. No, I just sent him this photo and little bio. And I also sent him like twelve or fifteen dollars or something, you know, for a copy of the book, the booklet, which just came finally. The reunion was in September and the booklet came sometime in the last two weeks. Anyway, this afternoon I wanted to talk about flavors and tastes, which we haven't done much. So, this is more specifically about cooking and less, you know, generally about Zen practice and being mindful or attentive or thorough or not wasting, etc. It's a subject that's very interesting to me and, you know, somehow there's not a lot about it. And so, I don't know why that

[02:22]

is exactly, but I don't know, maybe other people think differently than I do. I'm kind of interested in like, you know, what makes biscuits, biscuits? What makes bread, bread? What makes a pie dough, a pie dough rather than a tart dough? So, does it have more butter, less butter? It has milk or it doesn't have milk or, you know, why do things, what makes things the way they are? So, to me this is all kind of interesting because then if you have a basic structure, a concept in your mind, then you can go ahead and do lots of things. You don't need to have, okay, I'm going to put this with this and then, you know, and you don't need a lot of recipes, maps. You have a kind of overall understanding. So this is similar to, for instance, when I went to some classes with the chefs of Sichuan,

[03:27]

they said that when you're going to cook a dish, it's useful to think like, what are the main ingredients? What are the seasonings? So, what makes this dish what it is? So, you know, it's a different dish if you have, like last night we had tofu and it has lots of garlic, which is different, you know, it's a dish the guests did. So, that's different than if you have tofu in curry or tofu that's fairly plain, you know. So, you're thinking about the ingredients, the seasonings, and then you have a sort of picture in your mind of approximately what's happening here. So anyway, this is interesting to me. So, I started thinking about, you know, flavors and classically, and there's various

[04:34]

relationships here with what, you know, we think of as Zen, but I did find finally that it's useful to taste what you put in your mouth. A lot of times, you know, and this is a different way of cooking than you put in the various things and then you taste it, and then you haven't exactly studied in that process, like, how did it get to be like this? So, one of the things I do, for instance, when I cook is, if I make lentil soup, I cook lentils and then I taste, what do lentils taste like? So, to me, that's interesting. What do lentils taste like? And then, why would you, what, is there some problem with the way lentils taste? You know, last night we were talking about the true spirit of the grain. So then, yeah, maybe a little salt is good, maybe a little, what makes it, you know, and then some people like lentils and

[05:38]

then some people don't. So, for instance, apparently, very few people historically like vegetables, because if you look in, you know, any number of cookbooks, the Joy of Cooking or various places, most vegetable soups, you might saute some onions and you have some garlic and then you cook the vegetables in there and maybe you put in a little bit of flour and cook the flour a bit and then you add chicken stock, because you want to have the flavor of meat in there, and then you finish it with, you blend it up maybe, and then you finish it with some cream. So, you kind of, what you're kind of ending up with is chicken stock cream flavored with vegetables. So, as a vegetarian cook, of course, then you end up having to be more interested in, what are these flavors and how would I work with this and how would I end up with something that is appealing? Anyway, so I've been

[06:48]

tasting things carefully, so then if you start with lentils and then if you saute some onions and you put onions in with lentils, what does that do? You know, and it changes, so sauteed onions are in a lot of things, so to me it's interesting, why are sauteed onions in so many things? What's the point? So, in a simple sense, you see, and this is kind of hard to talk about because we don't have a lot of language for taste exactly. I'm going to introduce you to some, but if you just have, I've often done with people like having canned tomatoes and it's just tomato and if you put in sauteed onion with it, instead of a single note it's like a chord and it's like instead of just tomato, there's this other sort of sense of, which are of a kind of viney, herbaceous, you know, somewhat fruity, tart flavor and you put in sauteed onions and it kind of makes it a little more earthy, a little more mellow

[07:49]

and one way I describe it is from a single note you have a sort of chord of flavor. So, when you have a chord of flavor and then when you taste it, people think, oh, this is nice, and tomato sauce is not that complicated and yet people buy it because it's too hard to saute onions and add a little garlic and some dried thyme and oregano or basil or something and canned tomatoes and maybe have a little wine for another flavor element. That's too hard for people. This is not complicated, though. It's like taking tomatoes and then sauteed onion and maybe a little garlic and then you have some herbs and if you want, you can finish it with fresh herbs. And then there's whether the tomatoes are fresh or canned, but there's so many good canned tomatoes now. This is not a difficult thing to do. So, the concepts I want to introduce you to, first of all, the categories are,

[08:59]

the traditional categories are salt, sweet, sour, bitter and pungent. Pungent is the pepper, element of peppery things. And then in Asian cuisine, there's also sometimes a sixth flavor called plain. And the concept of food more often than not in the Asian, the Asian idea is that you have a food that's plain like white rice and then it's something you come home to in your palate. And then you go out on little flavor adventures and you have something salty or something sweet and sour, something sweet and pungent, something kind of moist and cooling, refreshing, and you can always come back home. And home in that sense is not supposed to have a lot of surprises. It's not supposed to, it's supposed to be kind of safe and what we might call comfort food. So, in our world, maybe it's mashed potatoes or something, but also we have some

[10:07]

analogous to that is bread, but bread isn't home in the same way because we have more of the idea that a meal is a main event, otherwise known as an entree. You have this main event and then partly you get a main event by having the things leading up to it be not very good and not very interesting. You know, how many warm-up acts are, yeah, vegetables sometimes, how many warm-up acts, you know, are that good compared to the main act, the main attraction you've been waiting for? And sometimes when you're at restaurants, you know, the bread and butter is not that good that they serve you at the beginning. It's just something to fill you up or pass your time or something. And anyway, so probably if I take like, you know, Japanese cooking, this is fairly simple,

[11:07]

but we have all of these, we have these five elements because soy sauce is salty and then for sweet, usually sugar, for sour, vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and then punch an element is green onions. Cilantro is both tart and pungent and then dark sesame oil is a kind of bitter element. So for instance, if you make teriyaki sauce, you have two parts of soy to one part sugar, one part vinegar, that's teriyaki sauce. Then if you also add, oh, and then garlic and ginger, you can have two. So garlic and ginger are pungent elements, green onion is kind of a pungent element, and cilantro is kind of tart and pungent, and then the dark sesame oil. So you can use these things either in the same dish or in different dishes. So you might have one dish that says soy sauce and then

[12:10]

another dish that, so cuisine is put together by using these elements and then but having them in different places. And within this kind of framework, one of the things that if you go out to restaurants, oftentimes what restaurants try to do is they overuse salt to bring up the flavor of things. Oftentimes restaurants, you know, there's just way too much salt in there and that's supposed to make it flavorful, but it just, in my taste, it just makes it salty. And so a lot of times what people cooking don't understand is that you need some of the tart element. For my cuisine, the way I cook, you need something tart and that helps for the flavor to be fresh and vibrant on your palate. So one of the primary examples of this, of course, is if you have salad. These things

[13:13]

don't just kind of like happen, but if you have salad, you know, you have lettuce and then you say like, well, this is pretty good. This is kind of crunchy and refreshing and well, maybe depending on the kind of green it is, you know, it's a little bitter or it's a little mustardy, like arugula is kind of mustardy and some greens are a little bitter, because you have bitter greens, and then some greens are a little more sweet, but generally lettuce is, it's kind of, you know, some like iceberg lettuce, you know, it's popular for various reasons, but one is that it has no flavor. And in an American cuisine, it's important, the things that have no flavor are really important parts of the cuisine, because we don't want to, because in America, we're more like I was saying the other night or whenever it was, happiness is not having to relate to anything. So, anything you put in your mouth wouldn't be, you wouldn't want to have to have it be something you had to pay attention to or notice that you had it in your mouth, like broccoli. Oh, I have broccoli in my mouth. So, it's the same with, you know, beer. You know, Americans for a long time like the beer is sweet

[14:23]

and bland. That's what we like, sweet and bland. We don't want to actually taste anything. We don't want to taste it. We don't want it to be bitter, pale ale or, you know, have some flavor of hops or something. There was a woman who one time wrote a column in the Chronicle years ago. She said that she'd been going to culinary school, so when her family came to visit, her mom and dad, she was taking them out to restaurants and finally they went out to have a burger and they said, we want to just have a hamburger without the goat cheese and, you know, the arugula. And she thought they might be interested in things like, you know, her dad was a chemist, so she thought, well, maybe he'll be interested in, and, you know, he's not interested. No, I know how I want to eat. And then she said, well, this is just food. Well, yeah, I mean, there can be such things getting too precious about food, but on the other hand, food isn't just food. It's our life. It's sunlight and earth and people's hard work and, you know,

[15:25]

a lot goes into it. And then when she went to visit her sister in St. Louis, you know, they went out to a bar and she ordered a bass ale and her sister said to the waitress, she means a Budweiser. Because, you see, if you have any taste or interest in taste, this is like pretentious and, you know, and you're sort of separating yourself from people, and so to actually taste anything, in a sense, it's, for some people, it's like a world apart. You're in a different world. So, America generally is like, let's eat things that, you know, have no flavor interest. And then, if anything, if it has any flavor element, it's sweet. We don't mind sweet, you know. So, we're in sort of a wasteland, it seems like at times, but California is a little different. Berkeley, you know, in the Bay Area, we're in sort of a,

[16:26]

in California, especially with all the produce we have, we're in the sort of, in a certain sense, sort of food mecca compared to a lot of places, I guess. But I started to tell you about salads. So, the lettuce, which can have, you know, various flavor qualities, or the arugula is mustardy and some of the lettuces are bitter, and then occasionally there's lettuce that's kind of sweet. There's lettuces that are more tart, you know. I mean, like, of course, the sorrel, of course, is tart, but there's also some little greens that are kind of tart or lemony, you know, rather than mustardy or rather than peppery or, you know, rather than bitter. So, there's a whole range of elements in there. So, when you go to eat them, you think, well, this is pretty good, but, you know, it might be nice with a touch of salt and pepper. Well, how do you get it to stick to the lettuce? So, people figured out that you, well, you toss the lettuce with some oil, and then you can put on some salt and pepper, and the salt and pepper sticks to the lettuce. Now, you've got these oily green things. So, when you put on a little vinegar or lemon juice,

[17:32]

now it's like, oh, that's good, that's refreshing. So, the tart element classically is considered, you see, to cut the grease, cut the fat, and literally the acidic element of tartness, it cleanses your palate, and it cleanses your taste buds, and it kind of clears away what's on your palate, and you taste things more. Some people say, well, it actually irritates your taste buds a little bit, and that's why they're more sensitive as you add more of a tart element, okay? This is also true, by the way, and where I actually, in some ways, started studying this was in wine tasting, and actually in wine tasting when classically, you know, European wines have a cooler growing temperatures for the season, and so the grapes have more acidity and less sugar, and here in Napa Valley, in American wine regions, there's generally hotter temperature throughout the summer, total degrees per day,

[18:35]

you know, it's usually higher, so there's lower acids and higher sugars, and that means that American wines have higher ... the sugar is what gets converted to alcohol, and so American wines tend to have higher levels of alcohol, and then European wines tend to have lower levels of alcohol and higher levels of acidity. Well, this is why some people say they like European wines better with food, because the higher acidity is actually more refreshing and refreshes your palate as you're eating and tasting. You have food, and then you have the wine, and you feel refreshed, whereas American wines often have a lack of acid, and so then it's a big flavor, but it doesn't feel as refreshing when you have it with food. It's nicer sometimes to sit around and drink your California wine in the afternoon, or as an appetizer, or something before dinner, but for some people it's not as good with food, and literally the wines that ... and it's very rare that it would be a European wine, but the wines that have a lack

[19:43]

of acid, they're actually ... in wine terminology it's called fat or flabby. That a wine, when it's called fat or flabby, what they mean is it doesn't have enough acid. It has all this flavor, but it doesn't have the sort of crisp ... crispness is another word for, in wine vocabulary, the crisp quality of a wine is another word for the amount of acid it has, so if it's crisp, it has a little bit above average tartness. That's what makes it so-called crisp. The crisp, that's a word for the amount of acid. So, with wine definitely, you see, and with salad, if you didn't have your vinegar or something tart, it would ... it tastes greasy if you have ... if you can have too much, and then you go like, hmm, this is ... this is, you know, puckery. So, when you have the right amount, it's refreshing and tasty. So, yesterday we were trying, for instance, with the ... and we didn't ... it never quite worked out, but we tried,

[20:47]

you know, the ... the tofu dish we had, which then had garlic. We put on some lemon peel, and we had the little lemon things, but we didn't actually put lemon juice on there, and it would have been helpful because that was so relentlessly garlic, tofu with garlic. If you like that, that's fine, but it would have been ... it would have helped on the palate for it to have maybe a little bit of lemon, and the other thing that would have helped, which is a classic combination, is sweet and pungent. So, garlic is a pungent element. So, I'm a little curious, and we might, if we have a chance this afternoon, we could try it out when we're back in the kitchen. We could take the garlic and taste it again, just out of the walk-in, and then we could put a little sugar on it, and see how does this change in our palate for it to be sweet and pungent and not just pungent. So, this is ... these are ... this is a classic kind of combination, that you don't just have pungent necessarily, but you may have something sweet. So, in a certain sense, you know, you can think about these flavors, and then you

[21:53]

can ... if you ... sometimes your mind or your awareness, you know, works fine to come up with what to have in a meal, and the various elements, you know, and then sometimes it's sort of obvious, because if you have meat and potatoes and vegetables and ... but, you know, what makes meals really tasty is to have a good combination of the various elements. Not necessarily in each dish, but overall, that a meal has various aspects. So, in our world, you know, certainly with vegetarian cooking, you know, the bitter element is often, aside from the fact that you can have bitter greens, nuts and seeds, like almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. These are things that are ... they're kind of oily, but they're also kind of a little bit bitter. So, they're very useful in cooking, especially in vegetarian cooking, as accents or to accompany, you know, to have in your salad or ... so, one of the things, for instance, at home I do is toast sesame seeds and then dress

[22:57]

the salad, and you sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on it, and then you have the greens, which are their various things, and you have the tartness, and then you have the bitter, and sometimes I actually put a tiny bit of toasted sesame seeds, and then a tiny bit of sugar melts in the pan and coats the sesame seeds, and so then we have almost all the flavor elements, because, well, we have salt, we have sweet, the oil is kind of a sweet element, and then we have, not necessarily pungent, but depending on the greens, and then we have the bitter, and we have the tart. So, to me, it's like, I enjoy that, you know, and if I don't have it in one place, I kind of, it kind of may end up in another place. All right. So, in traditional cuisines, you know, the Chinese are well known for adding sugar to things to bring up flavors, and in my cuisine, I like to add tartness to things to bring up flavors.

[23:58]

For a while, I was putting, like, lemon in everything I made, because it just, it tastes refreshing, and there's a kind of brightness about acidity or tartness. All right, I want to then, I want to tell you about my other flavor category, which in some ways is more useful, or it's certainly more poetic, and these are dividing flavors into three. So, there's the earthy flavors, stem leaf flavors, flowery fruity flavors. Okay, and to some extent, this corresponds to parts of the vegetable, but not necessarily. So, earthy things like, you know, beans, like I was mentioning lentils. So, some people just don't like the earthy flavors, so they, you know, they don't like lentils. Beets, beets are earthy. Some people don't like beets, and then there's black beans, you know, beans, so beans are generally rather earthy tasting, and then all the grains, grains are earthy tasting,

[25:05]

and dairy is an earth element. Meat is earthy. So, there are all these sort of things, you know, so meat and potatoes is all earthy, so it's no wonder that if you have mostly meat and potatoes, you're going to, you're going to turn into earthy and girthy. You're going to have some earth and girth, and so it's the stem and leaves that kind of bring the element of movement, you know, not only, you know, in plants, it's the part that moves, but when you have vegetables, just classically, and even for the heart association, etc., you have vegetables, and that helps things to move. They say, have some fiber. Fiber is vegetables. That helps with that, you know, literally moving things and, you know, through the body in that sense of movement, but also these are elements of cooking and cuisine or food that, you know, move the energy in your body. So, in Chinese medicine, the meat elements or protein or grains and beans, they're

[26:16]

the sort of stuff, but to actually move that stuff and have that stuff turn into energy, you need this other element of the stem and the leaf. That's what, you know, so as a kind of generality here, this is what allows for movement and the dispersing of chi, the movement of vitality throughout the body, and the fact that things are moving is a kind of quality of vitality. When things are solid or stolid or in place, then you have less the sense of vitality and more just the sense of heaviness, which is the sense of earth. Also, of course, you know, if you think about whether it's Chinese medicine or Indian medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, you know, we tend to be different types. So, some of us are more earth types, some of us are more the mid-range type, and some of those are more the bird-like, energetic, and then, of course, we'll tend to

[27:18]

eat the way that confirms our type, and we kind of just do that naturally, because that sort of appeals to us, and then we go on being our type, and there's not a problem being our type, except that sometimes it ends up being a problem. It would be better if we kind of worked with our diet a little bit to kind of bring in some of the other elements. So, those are the earth things. Now, earth tends to be either sweet earth or bitter earth, and that's in our language. And nobody says we don't have the expression the tart earth, and we don't have the expression the pungent earth. So, sweet and bitter tend to be associated with earth. So, like the nuts that I was mentioning earlier being bitter, those are earthy elements. Oil is an earthy element. Dairy is earthy. Some cheeses are earthy. I used to think there was a word, but I checked with my daughter,

[28:22]

excremental. I thought that was a French word for stinky cheeses, because some French cheeses have that kind of quality, and some people like it and some people don't, but that's this earth element. It's like, whoa, this is the barnyard. This is intense, and it's all right. So, you have these earth elements, and then, of course, things like potatoes. You have potatoes and then mushrooms. Mushrooms are, if anything, earthy. And then, of course, within any particular category, like grains, and if you think about it, buckwheat isn't really a grain, but buckwheat is particularly earthy compared to like wheat, compared to like, and then corn and millet, which coincidentally are yellow rather than brown. Corn and millet are more, have more of a sunny characteristic than some of the other characteristics. Some of the others are more earthy.

[29:24]

As earth goes, the corn and millet are more kind of sunny and bright. So, there's a kind of range within all these things. If you think about meats, you know, like shellfish, or fish isn't as earthy as beef and lamb and pork. You know, red meats are more like earthy, and then chicken is not quite as earthy. Fish is even less earthy, but it's still, if you were going to put it into this category, it'd be in the earth element, even if it's coming out of the water, but that's an earth thing. Then, in the mid-range here is all the whole realm of, you know, basically vegetables. So, we have things that are stalks, like asparagus and celery, and then we have leafy things, and then we have cauliflower and broccolis, and we have cabbages and, you know, lettuces, greens, you know, green beans, peppers. So, you know, bell peppers, green peppers, red peppers, those are the fruit part of the plant, but they have a vegetable kind of quality.

[30:25]

And then, and these flavors in here are kind of, maybe mildly pungent, maybe a little bit tart. They're not, but they're, you know, they're not appealing because, again, the most appealing flavor, oftentimes, for people is a sweet flavor, but you see, one of the things you can do in cuisine, which the Chinese do, for instance, if you stir-fry something, when you cook things with high heat in oil, a lot of the starches in there get converted to sugars, and some of the sugars caramelize, and then people say, this is good. So, you're working with, starting with something that's not necessarily so sweet, and then when you apply intense heat with oil, and you can also do that by roasting vegetables. You know, if you roast garlic, you know, for 30 or 40 minutes, it gets very soft, and it gets very mellow, and it's not nearly, it's sweet now. It's kind of

[31:27]

sweet, and it's kind of mellow, rather than being intense, and onions are the same way, which, you know, raw onions can be kind of intense, or vibrant, or exciting on your palate, but, and if they're cooked, and they become sweet and mellow, and that's the starches getting converted to sugars, and then sugar quality is making things more earthy then. Okay, then it's making it sweeter, toastier, nuttier, the heat. If you steam vegetables instead of sautéing them, you're not getting that, you're not bringing out the earthy element that's in there, you're bringing out the vegetable element. So, steaming and blanching things in boiling water leaves them more like vegetables, and then, you know, then people are less likely to go like, oh, this is good, the way they do with things that are stir-fried, because again, that sort of tends to be our

[32:32]

taste, but there are things you can do when you steam vegetables. And then, the third category here, flower fruit, there's a whole range of things here, which is literally fruits. So, apple, orange, lemon, peaches, bananas. So, some of these are sort of sweet things, like bananas, but a lot of fruits are actually kind of tart. You know, apples, although they're sweet, they're also kind of tart, and strawberries, although they're sweet, they're actually kind of tart, and raspberries are kind of tart, and so there's sweetness, and especially now that we don't necessarily get fruit that's like right off the vine, because the more sugar, I mean, the more sunlight, again, that something has on the vine, the more sweetness it's getting as it grows, just like the grapes, which they're getting. So, there's a lot of tart elements there, and then there's also elements like, you know, vanilla, or a kind of butterscotch flavor, which are kind of, and then also flower things.

[33:40]

Occasionally, there's things that are, well, the sort of thing that comes to mind is like Riesling wine. Riesling wine, or Gewurztraminer, it has this sort of sense of flowery or floral. So, that flowery or floral is a kind of sense of sweetness, and it's kind of more vibrant. Now, I want to give you some examples here of ways in which this flowery fruity element is used to actually then make other things, you know, interesting in your palate. So, one of the very common things is like chocolate chip cookies. Flour is an earth element. Cocoa, if it's unsweetened, it's dirt, it's bitter, you know, and then again, this is why there's so much milk chocolate in our country, you know, can't have that bitter. And so, the chocolate, the cocoa is bitter, the milk is bitter,

[34:47]

I mean, not bitter, but the milk is earth, the eggs are earth, the butter in there is earth, so everything in the cookie is earth, except for vanilla extract. And then, if you didn't have vanilla extract in your cookies, like, this is just so, you know, this is just heavy, this is just all this, you know, and it's sweet enough, and it's got some oil in there, but the vanilla extract is what sort of brightens it, and you don't need very much, but if you have a little vanilla extract, then you go like, oh, this is good, huh, how pleasant, or sometimes cookies have, you know, a little bit of lemon in them, and then again, you're like, oh, this is nice, and then literally, sometimes there's like lemon bars, sometimes in desserts, you know, there's German chocolate cakes, where between the layers is raspberry, it's chocolate cake by itself, it's after a while, it's just heavy, it's heavy in your taste, so if you have a little layer of raspberry

[35:49]

goo there, you get a little tartness, and then you say, this is nice, and you know, if you have espresso, and some people like in their espresso, you take just a little tiny bit of lemon peel, and you give it a little twist, and you get just a little hint of that lemon essence, or lemon oil off the peel, and you put that in your espresso, and you, oh, this isn't so intensely dirty, you know, and just, you get this, just this little brightness in your palate, you know, so this is actually all of, again, you know, these are, this is, there's actually, you see, a kind of conceptual underpinning to all of this. These are things that people have figured out, but it's actually, it all makes sense, that actually this third category of flowery fruity things is what helps to make earthy things palatable, what helps to make the vegetable things, you know, alive and vibrant, and with the middle category, you can sort of go both ways. So, you know, for instance,

[36:52]

if you take greens, and greens can be spinach, chard, kale, and you cook them. Now, some of these need to cook longer than other things, like kale tends to be more leather, and you want to cook it longer to get it to be tender, and spinach barely needs to be cooked, and it gets limp pretty fast, and chard is somewhere in between there, and these things have, in a certain way, they're kind of meaty. Spinach probably less so, and kale more so, you know, and chard, again, somewhere in the middle, but kale is, kale, it's a pretty earthy flavor. So, if you want to, if you want to, if you want to sort of make kale a little sort of brighter, and it's not like you're trying to get rid of the flavor of kale, I mean, but if you add a little sweet and sour to this, now it's kind of alive, and you get the earthy quality, and you get the quality of kale, but you also have the quality of sweetness, which is a different kind of earth, and you have the quality of tartness, lemon, say, which is the other, which makes it brighter. Now, I want to remind you at this point

[38:03]

that for any particular flavor thing, you know, and one of the things that happens, to me this is not complicated, you know, and maybe it's not complicated to me because I've thought a lot about it, and when I cook, I learned a long time ago, again, you taste things, and as you taste things, you catalog them, you kind of just catalog them, it's like you file it, you file it in your memory, what does kale taste like when there's nothing on it, you know, and then what does it taste like with, you know, some lemon, what does it taste like with some honey and lemon, and so you're thinking about, so in terms of these elements, you know, like salt isn't just salt, salt is also soy sauce, salt is also hard dried cheeses, you know, parmesan cheese, romano cheese is another example of something that's a very earthy cheese, you know, more so than parmesan, and it's a little, and a lot of those Italian, dry Italian cheeses are salty,

[39:06]

so you're actually adding a salty element, and classically, in salt substitutes, onion, celery, carrot, parsley are dried, and that's salt substitute, so actually there's a certain amount of salt already in some of the things that are going into your cooking. Tartness, while it's lemon and lime and orange, it's also, tomatoes tend to be somewhat tart, wine in certain instances is tart, and then there's also vinegars, and nowadays, you know, there's many different flavors of vinegars, and then there's also, as I mentioned, you know, depending on whether the apple is cooked or not, you know, apple or strawberry or some things, you know, are little bits of tart elements possibly, and also, by the way, as far as sweet, as far as salty goes, olives, olives are often, you know, salty, so if you have, and then sweet, of course, isn't just sugar, there's honey,

[40:09]

there's molasses, there's dried fruits, there's, you know, so there's raisins, dates, you know, dried apricots, and so you can take something, you know, greens, and you can have salt on them, of course, and then you can have a little sweet and sour, and you can have, and then the bitter element is nuts, so in tomato blessings here, for instance, there's a recipe for chard, and then it has the lemon, where you cut the lemon in eighths lengthwise, and then you cut the eighths in little tiny slices, so you actually have pieces of a whole cross-section of the lemon, which includes the skin, the yellow, the white, and then the pits, I mean the fruit part, you have little pieces of lemon, and then there's raisins, there, I forget, there might even be some little green chilies, so now we have sweet, and sour, and pungent, and then it's finished with some roasted nuts, which go over the top. Now, people have that, and they're like, this is so good,

[41:13]

this is, and, but, you know, it's also not complicated, it's chard, and it has the flavor elements, and you could do the same thing, you know, with sugar, you know, vinegar, we're going to do one of our taboulis tonight, we're taking, not the tabouli, the zucchini, and we're going to, we have, we're going to put on some of our zucchini, we're going to put on ginger, so that's a pungent element, okay, and then, and then to just kind of, you know, for our interest, and to amuse ourselves, we're also going to put on some honey and vinegar with it, so we mix the honey and vinegar together with the ginger, and we'll put that on the zucchini, and then we're going to see how that zucchini is different from the zucchini that has some thyme and oregano and salt and pepper, somewhat different set of things, okay, so we're going to do some different things today, which, you know, we'll have a chance to, and then we're going to do one tabouli with a lot of parsley, and some green onions, and some mint, and so that's

[42:21]

more the leaf stem flavors, and we're going to do another tabouli with almonds, walnuts, cumin seed, coriander seed, so that's going to be a tabouli that's more earthy, and then maybe we'll have a little bit of mint, so we're going to, we're going to be, in a certain sense, playing with these various elements, and just to see, like, get a little bit familiar with these things, and, you know, and then as you get familiar with these things, it's sort of, once, and then there's different ways to use categories like this, but, you know, one is when you're stumped of what to do, you kind of can go, like, well, do I want something more earthy in here, or, you know, does it need something more bright, like lemon, or, you know, you know, dried, you know, I'd want something sweet, dried fruits, do I want something tart, what do I do here? And then you have, sometimes then something comes to mind, but also if something's good, then you can, you have a way to, you know, to think about it, to study this. So, to me, you know,

[43:26]

when you cook like this, it's as though, you know, another way to say that I think about this is, you know, your intelligence or your awareness is actually working, because one of the things that people do when their intelligence isn't working, you can go to Denny's or places, or wherever it is, it's, you know, often supposedly good restaurants, and there's a little salad, and because lettuce isn't necessarily so good, and because we're just going to take a ladle of dressing and kind of ladle it over the top, or you are going to just squirt some dressing over the top, and we're not actually going to toss anything, and the stuff that's on the plate is going to sit there in the puddle of the dressing, you know, and then, because the lettuce isn't necessarily so good by itself, well, let's put on some little, you know, gratings of red cabbage, and why don't we have some grated carrot, and then maybe a few raw mushrooms, and then, you know, some little strips of green pepper, and, you know, and maybe some red pepper, and then what else can we put on there, you know?

[44:28]

So, it's not like anybody's actually thinking about flavor elements, you're just adding more so that it has the appearance of being something, and, you know, and maybe if we give it enough appearance of being something, people will be fooled, and then if you have a cheese, that can be a little salty, or a little earthy, or, you know, if you have goat cheese, and then if you have one little element that's like capers or olives, and pretty soon you've got this, this is pretty good, because it's this range of things, and the elements are these different elements of an earth element, there's a nut, and a cheese, and then there's the greens, and there's the caper, and then there's the apple, or the pear, and now this starts to make sense, this is somebody's intelligence, somebody's been tasting, and somebody's, you know, and so when you go to restaurants that are good, somebody's doing this, they're thinking this,

[45:30]

and whether they're doing it consciously or not, they have a sort of sense of the different flavor elements, and that we could kind of bring these together rather than, I'm just going to put a bunch more stuff in here, and we'll hope it sort of works, and maybe it'll be good, and tomorrow I think we're going to do a salad, a green salad, I think tomorrow's lunch is, I think it was carrots rations and sunflower seeds, so that's pretty good, because carrots are pretty earthy, the raisins are kind of sweet and fruity, and then the sunflower seeds are kind of earthy, different kind of earthy and bitter, and the greens are, you know, the vegetable things, so then it should be kind of nice, a kind of combination of, you know, different elements, and then it, and which is, sometimes it's a little less obvious that these things are, you know, working together. We're going to need to stop. Anyway, so there you have it, something about all of this,

[46:37]

and you'll find it useful or not, as I've said about this whole course. You'll get something out of what I'm saying and take it with you, or you won't, or you know, something may pop up later, but again, this is a kind of way, you know, the kind of teaching I'd like to give people is things you can use to study for yourself, you know, so I'm not trying to tell you exactly what's what, but as you taste things, partly, you know, whatever our experience is, as we experience something, if we have language for it, then it becomes noteworthy, and then we can note it, and we can catalog it, and store it. If we have no language for it, then it's sort of like, well, yeah, this tastes different, but you know, my dad used to say about fine, you know, nice wines, that when I was the wine bar at Green's, and I'd bring home, you know, nice wines from Green's, and he'd say, well, that's nice, but I don't know why. And, you know, the follow-up to that is, who cares?

[47:42]

Because I can't, I don't have any language, really, or, you know, way to, you know, recognize this, so language actually helps us recognize things, and see things, and experience things, and then it also is some way to, so in that sense, it's a way to, as you taste things, for things to be more alive. So, this is, you know, the earth, stem, flower, fruit is just a kind of language I created for myself, because I wasn't happy with the language of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent. So, the language can be whatever language you want, but this is a language that I created for myself, and I find, you know, useful in my cooking, and it's a useful way to think about and explain to people what makes food what it is, you know, how does this, why is this, you know, interesting or not for us, you know. Anyway, so if language like this doesn't help you, you know, you should create your own language so that you can notice things,

[48:47]

and then, as time goes on, you study, and then you remember, like, oh yeah, the lemon really helped that, or that was really good with the olives, or, you know, the nuts, that little bit of bitter element, that was nice on here, you know. So, anyway, it's a kind of tool for helping you to observe and study, yeah. Sure. Of the food? Yes. Well, I like, I don't generally like things really cold, um, because, um, so I like generally things either at room temperature, maybe slightly, slightly below room temperature, maybe, and then up to, you know, hot and fresh out of the oven or the stove, because the colder something gets, the less you can taste. This is true,

[49:53]

um, so the best white wines, for instance, are actually not intended to be served ice cold or refrigerator cold. The best Chardonnays are better around 50 degrees, and what they say, and what I found to be true, is the cheaper the wine, the poorer the quality, the colder you want it, so you don't taste how bad it is. You just taste, this is refreshing, this is cold, so then you don't taste the excess of sweetness or the lack of, you know, tartness or whatever it is in the wine, you know, so you, and so I find it sort of distressing, and partly this is because of food regulations, you know, when you go to restaurants and things that in my mind ought to be sort of room temperature are just straight out of the refrigerator because, partly because, you know, the food people say that you've got to keep it such and such a temperature or it's going to have salmonella or whatever it's going to have, and we can't have that. So anyway,

[50:53]

so I tend to like things maybe a little bit cool up to, you know, and also for me that has something to do with Chinese medicine because in Chinese medicine it's considered that your stomach is a digestive fire or a cooking pot, and when you, if you eat too many cold things and especially ice cold things, that's dampening your digestive fire. And so, for instance, you know, salads and eating, you know, eating lots of fruit and sort of like this sort of Weight Watchers idea of cold raw fruit and lettuce things, it's all things that are cold and dampening and actually slows down your metabolism, slows down your digestive fire, and you don't have so much energy, you don't burn so many calories, and then it doesn't necessarily work as a kind of, and having foods that are more room temperature or cooked or hot, you know, then tends to be more

[52:02]

compatible, at least in Chinese medicine, with one's digestive fire and being able to absorb the energy of the food. So anyway, that's more my, so I do like a range of things. You know, I do like some things room temperature or, you know, if I've had them in the refrigerator, I have them out for a little bit, so they're not like refrigerator cold. There. We need to, so thank you. We need to close up here, close up shop here and head over to the kitchen.

[52:36]