The Curious Cook: Shiraz

New York Times

By Harold Mc Gee

June 4, 2008 


How far wrong can you go with mashed potatoes? I had no idea until last month, when I tasted the worst of my life in a new Midtown restaurant whose French pedigree had led me to expect some of the best. They were smooth and buttery, but the flavor was strangely harsh, with a chemical aftertaste. “Like Band-Aids,” my companion said.

Later, we were able to diagnose the problem: way too much white pepper. This week I feel a little more sympathetic toward the cook who checked the seasoning on those potatoes, assuming someone did check. There’s a chance that he or she couldn’t taste the pepper’s harshness.

This is one intriguing conclusion from a recent paper in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The researchers studied the peppery aroma of shiraz wines. In the process, they discovered the aromatic essence of pepper itself.  Read full story



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