Basically Spicy or Basically Plain?
This question is inspired by a recent Saveur recipe for celery salad. Just celery, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper. Now, while I'm a bit dubious about that specific dish, it did inspire me to wonder: how do chowhounds genrally prefer to eat: layers of spice, complex flavors (think India), or generally simple, what some might call "clean" flavors (think celery salad)? Yes, oversimplification, no, it doesn't mean you can't put nutmeg in apple pie, but, generally, which one do you prefer? Do you eat more of one, but really prefer the other?
Myself, I have to say basicaly plain--but not the celery!
I like both, especially one with the other. Like Indian food with a simple cucumber raita. Or a dark braised meat with a simple boiled potato.
I made that salad a couple of weeks ago. We thought it was amazing. So simple and so refershing.
Generally I like spice.
Generally I'm more into European-style quick dishes, because that's how I was raised. The dishes generally rely on the ingredients, and one or two herbs, s&p. Oh, and a good imported vegetable bouillon. This adds so much, I don't know why American Knorr tastes like cr**. I recently found a decent version in a Chinese grocery.
My food's not boring, though at all. ex's: simple egg and ham carbonara, mushroom risotto, baby spinach w/lemon, eggplant beef and egg timbale, roasted peppers or eggplant w/mint, pasta w/capers mint and cream, lentil soup w/ dill or cilantro, variations on all of this and many other vegetable dishes that are not considered "recipes."
Complex is great if you know what you're doing and have the time. I strongly emphasize "know what you're doing." There's nothing worse than a dish with too many flavors that don't meld.
I'm from the school that a meal should have balance - if possible. An appitizer shouldn't have the same flavor as the main dish.
There are some dishes that should be simple and crisp - summer dishes in particular. Colder weather is when I start in on my chili and soup and "comfort food".
One thing I do need complex and layered is my spicy food. Nothing worse than food that is either too hot to taste or potentially eat.