Community Project: Menu planning

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Community Project: Menu planning

Postby Martha Mc » Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:17 pm

I've always been interested on how to plan a progression of flavors through a meal. What makes a bad meal (from a flavor mix stand point) assuming all the component parts are well executed?
Should a meal, like a wine tasting, progress from white/light to red/heavy? Might you mix it up? Is the old "soup to nuts" progression still something to follow?
Should the same ethnic flavors or style of cooking be maintained through every course of a meal? Or might you change course when you change courses?
Are "palate cleansers" used to redirect the flavor of the meal or should they be used to complement what has been and what will be? Or are they "there" just because they're nice to have while the cook takes a breather?
How many flavors should be duplicated during the course of a meal and how many times (i.e. If ginger is in the main course, might or should it also be in the dessert and/or in the salad course and/or soup course?).
And of course, how many different flavors (meaning flavors of note, the stronger herbs and spices) should there be to keep the meal entertaining but not overwhelming?
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Re: Community Project: Menu planning

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:28 pm

WOW! What a great topic. I've been scratching my head for a few weeks now thinking about the menu for this year's NiagaraCOOL picnic. I've come up with some ideas for specific dishes, but not an overall menu. I have a French cookbook that lists menus and wine pairings, and I've always just referred to it when I'm preparing something from the book.
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Re: Community Project: Menu planning

Postby MikeH » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:09 pm

Interesting question. And I would say that the progression of flavors is important.....how they progress, I couldn't say.

Chef Louis Szathmary operated a restaurant called The Bakery in Chicago. A couple of interesting points. First, there were no menus. All the waiters had been there forever and had the offerings memorized. Dinner was fixed price, the main courses never changed....duck, goose, pheasant, Wellington, ribeye, pike, pork, etc. Second, you didn't get a choice of vegetable. You were served the currently in-season vegetables that went best with your main course!!! So the chef was not going to allow you to have a bad dining experience because the flavor of your protein clashed with the flavor of the veggies.
Cheers!
Mike
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Re: Community Project: Menu planning

Postby FrancescoP » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:34 pm

My only rule is to be sure that every dish served is not too strong in flavours, spices and salt content than the one following it (except for the dessert).

Francesco
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