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emglow101 Jun 24, 2012 06:47 PM

I really like my baked potaoes with nothing on them and alot of my vegtables. My coffee in the morning black with no milk or sugar. Do you like to taste the ingredients or bury them in codiments or spices, incuding a protein ? I feel most of the time I'm not into bringing out the flavor. Just using great ingedients. What do you like just plain?

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    Cheez62 Jun 24, 2012 07:41 PM

    And here I thought this was going to be about how NOT to dress while cooking bacon...

    Can't say I agree with you on the naked potatoes or veggies, though that doesn't mean I don't prefer it simple. A "loaded" baked potato is not my thing either, but a little butter or sour cream is good. Other veggies? Some garlic, salt and pepper go well with many - add a bit of olive oil and throw it on the grill? Oh yeah.
    Coffee? That one you got right. Bourbon and scotch too, since we're talking beverages. A couple of ice cubes may be acceptable.
    Not sure if this counts, since it's usually been seasoned with a rub, but - good barbecue. Hold the sauce, please.

    1. Quine Jun 24, 2012 07:43 PM

      First I think you are kind of asking the question wrong. There is a huge difference between something served without anything else on it and then saying "bury them in codiments or spices", is either or?
      Many things, to me, benefit from having a combination of items. The best, perfectly ripe, home grown tomato, eaten out of hand, still warmed by the sun, tastes better, with a just picked basil leaf wrapped around it. Surely that is not burying it in spices. While I never salt at table, I do cook using a bit for most items. To me there is a huge difference between pasta that is just boiled and pasta cooked in salted water.

      In terms of a single item, with nothing added, my choices would be along the lines of sashimi and bacon.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Quine
        Miri1 Jun 24, 2012 07:52 PM

        I like plain unadorned cottage cheese, pnil lavanilla ice cream, plain seltzer, plain toast. That's not to say I won't eat them with additions, but I do like me some simple food.

        1. re: Quine
          emglow101 Jun 24, 2012 09:39 PM

          A litttle S @ pepper is Ok . Just was noticing how many condiments were in my sisters and her husbands fridge. Was wondering if the norm. I cant stand that crap

          1. re: emglow101
            escondido123 Jun 24, 2012 09:51 PM

            Condiments are not the same things as properly seasoning and/or cooking an ingredient. For example, creating a wonderful butter sauce with herbs for a perfectly cooked piece of beef is not culinary equivalent to covering it in AI sauce out of a bottle.

            1. re: escondido123
              emglow101 Jun 24, 2012 10:07 PM

              Ok, just what you like plain. No spice no condiments. Raw or cooked .

              1. re: escondido123
                julesrules Jun 26, 2012 06:50 AM

                But a lot of chowhounds love Sriracha, for example. Is it inherently better than A1, or just the trendy flavour of the moment?
                I like complex flavours generally - but wouldn't make a butter sauce for a great steak. I'm sure it's tasty but sounds like gilding the lily to me. Salt and pepper? Oh most definitely!

                1. re: julesrules
                  escondido123 Jun 26, 2012 01:09 PM

                  I've never been a fan of hot sauces so Sriracha has little appeal. We bought a bottle, almost never use it, and finally gave it away to a teenager who puts it on everything.

              2. re: emglow101
                tcamp Jun 25, 2012 06:06 AM

                Funny, I was just looking into my fridge this morning and thinking that just as some people have a second fridge for sodas, I need a second fridge for condiments. For example, on the doors alone, I've got: Soy sauce, chile paste with garlic, sriracha (2 kinds), mustard (dijon, spicy german, and homemade), mayo (hellman's), black bean sauce, peanut butter (natural, Costco brand), chilli paste with holy basil, hot mango pickle, horseradish sauce, salmon oil (dogs), red pepper paste, 3 kinds of chutney (homemade and church ladies), pepper vinegar, fish sauce, almond butter (left over from sister in law visit), habanero sauce, hot pepper sauce, and ketchup.

                But I do take your point about fresh foods needing less smothering with crap. I usually steam fresh veggies and lightly season with lemon, oil, and/or fresh herbs. Frozen veggies, in winter, are more likely to get heavier seasoning. I drink coffee at home black. Coffee from a gas station or office often gets a dab of milk because it isn't as good as my own.

                1. re: tcamp
                  INDIANRIVERFL Jun 26, 2012 08:40 AM

                  You might want to find a shelf in the pantry. Living on a boat with no fridge in Florida, my experience has shown the following of your condiments last 3 months or longer without cooling.

                  Soy sauce, chili paste with garlic, sriracha, any mustard, black bean sauce, peanut butter, red pepper paste, pepper vinegar, fish sauce, hot pepper sauce, and catsup.

                  And I like my fish naked with no wasabi. Pickled ginger (which also lasts forever) between portions.

              3. re: Quine
                Janet from Richmond Jun 26, 2012 06:45 AM

                I agree with Quine....there's a lot of middle ground.

                I like well seasoned food and I like good condiments. I like to enhance flavors and mingle flavors and like a variety of flavors in one bite.

              4. EWSflash Jun 24, 2012 08:24 PM

                Baked potatoes, no. Coffee, tea (green or black) yes, most steamed or grilled veggies don't need to be bathed in butter like most folks want to. I like salt on my corn on the cob, but if it's good enough I don't need ANY butter. Lime juice is good, though.

                1. s
                  SAHCook Jun 24, 2012 08:25 PM

                  I like to taste what I eat and drink, too.

                  1. e
                    escondido123 Jun 24, 2012 09:21 PM

                    With perfectly ripe fruit, I think they are perfect by themselves. But for most ingredients, I like to find combinations that enhance that flavor. Fresh fig is nice--broiled with Roguefort and walnuts, WOW. Perfectly roasted chicken is excellent--using the roasting pan drippings to create a sauce, sublime. The list could go on for a long time. What you are talking about is great choice of foods, the other is about talented cooking IMHO. Those chefs that say they are focused on the ingredients is true, but they don't just lay them on the plate.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: escondido123
                      pippimac Jun 24, 2012 10:40 PM

                      Fruit, of course, raw vegetables eaten in the garden, and oysters. But I usually have some form of seasoning on my food. I don't do commercial/premade stuff really, but I think fat,/salt/acid nearly always makes tasty things even tastier!
                      I don't add anything to frozen peas, but they always go with something fatty,/salty/acidic...

                    2. c
                      cresyd Jun 25, 2012 03:11 AM

                      For me, the item I like the most in a "natural" state are toasted nuts. Just put on heat, no oil, no salt.

                      In terms of raw veggies, I am all for raw slices of kholarabi, cauliflower and carrot completely solo. However, items like arugula, red cabbage, and other greens - I like them raw, shredded and put in a salad with only lemon juice to season (so not exactly "naked')

                      And in less lofty food goals and with far more chemicals, I do love a carton of Cool Whip with a spoon.

                      1. j
                        jhopp217 Jun 25, 2012 04:17 AM

                        While I completely understand what you mean, I do think there are some things that just compliment each other perfectly and enhance flavor. Obviously, fresh fruits and veggies eaten alone (as opposed to a salad) are incredible. While great coffee is fine black, I find that the average coffee with just a splash (and I do mean splash) cuts the bitterness.

                        I honestly can't say I can think of a protein other than maybe sushi grade fish that doesn't gain from some basic seasonings. Lamb to me is the most perfect food, because the flavor is there without seasoning, but with nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and some rosemary, it becomes magical.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: jhopp217
                          cresyd Jun 25, 2012 04:45 AM

                          I was wondering about proteins of any sort - and if any of them really hold up to being "completely untouched".

                          I would say that even amazing sushi grade fish benefits from that expert touch of soy/wasabi/acid. I can enjoy raw oysters without anything - though think they benefit from that touch of acid. Beyond those - are they other proteins that can truly sing on their own? Perhaps not the "best" version of the protein, but a truly lovely version where heat or chilling is the only thing used to change the nature of the protein?

                          1. re: cresyd
                            escondido123 Jun 25, 2012 08:43 AM

                            On a summer evening, little necks pulled out of cold water need nothing--except maybe an icy beer.

                            1. re: escondido123
                              jhopp217 Jun 28, 2012 02:01 PM

                              True, they need nothing, but a squeeze of lemon brings them to another level

                        2. z
                          zzDan Jun 25, 2012 11:53 AM

                          Black coffee is somewhat healthful.

                          1. l
                            laliz Jun 25, 2012 12:15 PM

                            black coffee and fresh fruit is all I can think of. I do NOT enjoy a plain baked potato. I've had one w/mustard or salsa when I didn't want to add any fat ~~ but I wouldn't bother with the potato if it was plain. Don't want to waste carbs on something unappealing to me.

                            I thought of one other thing I do like plain. A boiled sweet potato.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: laliz
                              biscottifan Jun 26, 2012 08:09 AM

                              Boiled redskins with salt only are good.

                            2. l
                              LauraGrace Jun 25, 2012 05:03 PM

                              I think some of this has to do with being a supertaster or not. I love salt, spices, condiments -- not to cover up the taste of the food but to complement or enhance it.

                              Coffee's a good example, IMO. A perfectly-made latte (not Charbucks, but made by someone who actually cares about coffee) doesn't *need* sugar or flavoring because well-steamed milk is sweet and good coffee has complex flavors of its own. But a miele, which is just a latte sweetened with honey and cinnamon, is delightful in its own right.

                              1. s
                                Steve Jun 26, 2012 07:06 AM

                                All my veggies get plainly steamed.

                                1. m
                                  MonMauler Jun 26, 2012 08:39 AM

                                  I am struggling to come up with things I regularly consume that are not at least adulterated with a little salt & pepper or additional ingredient/s that change the flavor of the underlying foodstuff.

                                  Cheese I love and adore on its own -- it's the only thing I can think of that I regularly eat without seasoning or additional ingredients/components, and even then I'll bet most of my cheese consumption comes from when it is a component in a dish. I'll also eat fruit straight up, but that is not a regular occurrence. Similarly, I'll eat veggies raw if they are out on a platter at a party I'm attending.

                                  Beverages are the only thing I can think of that do not regularly get adulterated. Coffee, tea and water don't get any additions. Wine, beer and most liquors are also almost always straight.

                                  1. biondanonima Jun 26, 2012 09:03 AM

                                    I am not opposed to eating any of these things with condiments/seasoning or in other dishes, but I like them straight up equally as much.

                                    Most fruits
                                    Bell peppers
                                    Wine :)

                                    1. John E. Jun 26, 2012 10:16 AM

                                      Objective answers are more easily garnered with objective questions. Unless of course you just wished for replies that agree with your post. Sure, there are some things that don't require additional ingredients. I however do not believe you have mentioned any in which the response would be astonishment that something was added. People have been adding seasoning to their food for thousands of years. I don't see any reason to stop now.

                                      1. Novelli Jun 26, 2012 10:20 AM

                                        First thing that comes to mind is lobster and crab.
                                        Sure, some stir fry seasoning or something spicy may taste good with it, but I would just as happy with a plain boiled/steamed crab and lobster to rip in to.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Novelli
                                          jhopp217 Jun 28, 2012 02:04 PM

                                          I just want to be clear, because I have this argument with lobster lovers all the time. You are saying nothing. No salting the water. No lemon, no clarified butter? Just lobster, in pot of unsalted water. Boil and eat? I know about 1 in 200 people who can eat it like this and ACTUALLY enjoy it.

                                          1. re: jhopp217
                                            cowboyardee Jun 28, 2012 02:18 PM

                                            They're pretty good boiled in seawater without any other adornment. Though I have to admit I still prefer a little melted butter for dipping.

                                            1. re: jhopp217
                                              Novelli Jun 28, 2012 02:21 PM

                                              Absolutely, providing it's quality lobster.
                                              In fact, if nothing is going on/with it, I prefer it steamed rather than boiled so you can taste the true flavor.

                                              Don't get me wrong, I dig seasoning (obviously), but if someone plopped a plain steamed lobster in front of me, I would definitely enjoy it!

                                          2. cowboyardee Jun 26, 2012 03:12 PM

                                            "Do you like to taste the ingredients or bury them in codiments or spices...?"
                                            I think i detect a little bias in your phrasing.

                                            Personally, I do both, switching back and forth depending on the ingredient and my mood. Coffee - with milk and a little sugar. Bourbon - neat. Chicken - sometimes I cook it in many spices (jerk or curry, for example); other times I use nothing but salt and heat.

                                            The risk in using a lot of ingredients and flavorings isn't exactly that you'll bury your flavors; it's that you might make good ingredients less enjoyable than they would be if prepared with more discretion. When you taste a single ingredient, you might be tasting relatively few compounds, or hundreds of em. How many or few separate compounds you taste isn't the measure of how good something tastes (for example, coffee has several times as many different flavor compounds as wine does - but both are delicious). Discretion and skill are virtues in cooking; minimalism is not, IMO, but an arbitrary stylistic preference.

                                            OTOH, here is one thing I have worked on in my cooking - making flavors differentiate themselves within a single bite. If I use a bunch of ingredients, I usually want a bite of food to have both bright bursts of flavor and more lingering flavors that take over after those bursts fade. That's not necessarily a matter of using fewer ingredients but of using ingredients well.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                              emglow101 Jun 26, 2012 10:17 PM

                                              Well said. Yea ,I guess I have a biased opinion. I do like my curry ketcup, good olive oil, salt ,pepper, fresh and dried herbs, used sparingly.

                                            2. pinehurst Jun 28, 2012 02:04 PM

                                              Scotch, and little else.

                                              1. Kris in Beijing Jun 28, 2012 04:40 PM

                                                A video response: Check out this video on YouTube:


                                                1. Caroline1 Jul 4, 2012 03:51 PM

                                                  I think it's important to experience "naked" food before you start messing around with dressing it up. And some foods are best (imo) left naked. Coffee. Watermelon. Truly great strawberries. And some foods gain when you start playing with "augmentation." Salt is the great and magic enhancer for most foods. And then there are the subtleties of different kinds of salt and what they "bring to the table." From there, there is a whole world of magic to be explored. What will a little cumin do? Saffron? Roses! Cardamom. Spearmint or peppermint? Sumac! Lavender. Black lemons. Truffles. Thyme. AND time! It's all a game and the goal is always a party in your mouth. Just call me a party girl. '-)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                    LauraGrace Jul 4, 2012 08:31 PM

                                                    And best answer ever.

                                                    1. re: LauraGrace
                                                      Caroline1 Jul 5, 2012 01:03 AM

                                                      Thanks! :-)

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