Cooking Class: How To Taste Your Food

By 300 Sandwiches

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DSC_0504Hollandaise sauce, á la E.
“Mmmm, this looks good. Taste it,” E asks.
“Can you hand me a spoon?” I ask.
“Just use your finger.”

E and I have different cooking processes, from how to dice a tomato to how to clean up after a meal. One thing that we diverge on wildly is whether or not to use your finger to taste food.

E believes that sticking a finger in the sauce or spice as it’s cooking is the best way to measure taste. I find this gross. I don’t know were his finger has been! The finger has germs! Cooties! Then your finger contaminates the food with whatever germs are on your hands?! EWWWW!

“Get over it!” he says. “It’s convenient, it’s fast and it’s what everybody does.”
Insert eye roll here.

E thinks he’s won this fight since last year, when we were on vacation in South Africa. E and I took a cooking class to learn to make traditional Cape Malay food–which includes a blend of rich spices and curry dishes. Our host was the Martha Stewart of South Africa—a professional chef who had published several cookbooks, produced television and radio shows and at one time ran her own restaurant. While in our host’s kitchen, we mixed together sauces, stews and batters, and she wanted us to sample as we went along to make sure everything tasted appropriate.

She pushed a bowl of marinade in front of me. “Taste,” she said.

I looked for a fork. “Do you have something I can use to taste?”

She turned to me, completely deadpan. “Just use your finger.”

Toldya!” E exclaimed.

I reached for a fork anyway.

What do you think? Do you use your finger to taste your food?

E’s Note: I didn’t just think that I won this fight since last year: I’ve known of my victory for a long time. I taste with my finger as I cook. My mother does it. My grandmother did it, and my great-grandmother did it, too. Yes, I come from a long, long line of finger-tasters — all exceptional cooks — and the proof of the superiority of this method is in the pudding (nyah nyah).
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