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Palate cleansers ... for the cook?

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You taste as you cook, right?

That is, taste a bit, then season (if necessary), then taste a bit again, cook or stir, then taste a bit, etc. Repeat as necessary.

You do that while cooking, right?

But you ever notice that your palate becomes "soiled" the more you taste? So that after a while you're no longer getting a true taste of what you are, um, tasting?

Let's say you are making a sauce. You taste. A bit bland. You add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir and cook a bit. Taste again. Still bland. But wait. Your tongue or palate is now "soiled" from your first taste of that sauce so that now as you taste the sauce a second time around -- even when the sauce is now more "salty" -- you don't notice the difference.

Do you bother to account for this effect? If so, what do you do about it?

Surely, you don't taste and spit a la wine aficionados, right?

A sip of water perhaps?

Some crackers?

Something else, maybe?

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  1. It can be a real problem.I like celery sticks and tomato wedges with sea salt ,some black coffee seltzer I also rely on family to taste Hey !! then I don't have to hear "somethings missing "I don't like loosing my appetite be fore a feast

    1 Reply
    1. re: scunge

      I usually have a glass of white wine on hand. A sip of wine then water does it for me.

      1. Pinot Grigio - sometimes a sip of Lager or Pilsner.
        I can't say if it actually works or not, but it's good enough for me.

        1. Sometimes if I have half a lemon lying around I'll suck on that. I like sour things, so it's not for everyone but it really does the job!

          1 Reply
          1. re: robotcoupe

            water with a squeeze of lemon for me.

          2. Not usually problematic to me unless I'm cooking something slow-simmering and have tasted dozens of times. Wine or beer, maybe followed by a swish of water, usually does the trick. Or the girlfriend gets called off the couch---especially to help judge if there's enough salt or fresh citrus in something.

            1. I do sometimes suffer from taste bud fatique. When I was a chef this issue occured more frequently than I care to admit. I found that by tasting just a index fingertip full was enough to ascertain the need for further seasoning, and prevented the inevitable dulling of the senses.

              I sip water or eat a piece of unbuttered bread to clear my palate. If all else fails, I call mrbushy, although he's really no help, as he has no nose for aromas and prefers things more sweet/salty/less spicy than I do. So he is relieved of duty and back to bread and water.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Yeah, when I cooked in a restaurant my solution was to keep a worn-out (i.e., tasteless) piece of gum in my mouth. It was a great palate cleanser between tastes. Make like a cow for a few seconds and the palate was good to go, again and again.