"How do you come up with those flavor combinations?" may be one of the most common questions I hear as a cook. About 12 years ago, a self-acknowledged professional midlife crisis prompted me to try professional cooking as an avocation.
We use different parts of our brain for language and for our sensory bodily experience. Seeing the photographs of the chemicals of taste, I thought -- wow, they look like what they do and the words we give for those tastes.
I think I have identified a sixth sense. It's why homemade dishes you remember as a child tasted so good and why I can't seem to replicate the same pleasurable sensation when I prepare the dish in my home. I call it UMommy.
She grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where a meal meant "the three-point landing -- a huge hunk of meat and two little piles of something vegetable-ish." She moved to Portland for culinary school but kept her Sheboygan mindset. Food meant "midwest fare -- always meatcentric," she says.