My studio are holding an open evening on May 24th, and I am beyond excited. Recently, we held a biohacking evening to great success[1][2], so we decided to incorporate a workshop within the evening. The event is to introduce FoAM kernow in our new studio space to local artists, businesses and other lovely people around the area.

In brainstorming the event, we came upon the idea to do a flavour workshop. Now is the time that i’m hoping to get some primary research into flavour, and this seemed the perfect outlet. Luckily, my work on Open Sauces meant that I can incorporate FoAM projects in to my university project, so it’s Ginfographic masquerading as Open Sauces masquerading as Ginfographic.

Currently i’m in the process of planning said workshop.

My Reddit Secret Santa really pulled through this year and I received a copy of Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter – it’s an O’Reilly book and all, seriously it’s legit. Within this book is a whole section about flavour, including some exercises.

One thing I have learnt from this book is that flavour encompasses a number of things, but two really stand out – taste perception (the actual chemical reaction of food with our tastebuds, our brain’s interpretation and reaction) and aroma (our mouths are connected to our noses, remember eating mushrooms or other horrible food whilst holding your nose as a young person, or maybe you do now, I totally do that). Cocktails do smell incredible, you’ll always be able to recognise the high notes of some constituent ingredients, but the resounding aroma is always alcohol, so maybe deep exploration into aroma is not entirely relevant to this specific project, however it is still relevant.

The other thing, of course, is the practical exercises. I was floundering slightly until I found this section, so I am choosing to take on one of the experiments for my workshop.

I’d like a participant to taste a ‘taste’. I’m going by sweet, salty, umami, bitter and sour.. it’s a bit early to go completely esoteric with this one. This taste is going to be suspended in a jelly with it’s colour taken away and hopefully most of its material properties (runny honey vs hard salt) so the participant does not know what to expect. I’d like them to taste it. Then, i’d like them to write a couple of things..

1) A biro image of the flavour, no words allowed
2) A colour image of the flavour, no words allowed
3) A memory this invokes, using words
4) Finally, a description of the flavour. Let it all out with words.

It would also be really fantastic if I could film some reactions to this.

From the Cooking for Geeks book, i’m taking one of the exercises, mashing up some ingredients and getting the participants to guess what the flavour is. So far i’ve decided on coriander, caraway seeds, blackberries, hazelnut and tamarind. Maybe tahini as the last one. It’ll be interesting to see how ‘in tune’ the palate is in general.

So now i’m going to have a great amount of fun making jelly.