The Theory of Natural Cocktail Selection

Natural selection, at base, is the differential survival and reproduction of living things on the basis of observable traits. A cheetah is more likely to survive the wild, capture more prey and ultimately produce offspring if she has a new set of traits, ones which even her own parents lacked, that make her observably faster or more cunning than the average cheetah, for example. Her offspring have a greater chance of doing the same since they are more likely to have their mother’s advantageous traits. For this to occur, however, information needs to be conveyed from one generation of cheetah to the next, to preserve what came before. Through random and undirected changes in such information from one generation to the next, “innovation” (in a sense) has occurred. This basic idea serves as the bedrock for our entire understanding of biology. It’s a powerful idea to say the least, but it famously applies to a great number of things beyond living ones.

Spices and Flavor Pairings

Many of you have followed up with me in curiosity about why I haven’t tackled spice flavor pairings, having already done the more complex work of building a spice blending paradigm and classifying every aromatic I’ve ever worked with into categories to make that paradigm useful in a general sense. I recommend that you read those articles, if you haven’t yet, before proceeding with this one. Now, in a similar exercise to how I approached herbs previously, I’m covering spices in the specific sense.

Making Healthy Delicious

Delicious food can be difficult enough to make sometimes. But delicious and healthy often seem mutually exclusive to some. This need not be the case though. By combining some of the food science-based Cheap Tricks I’ve previously employed with a couple new ones, I’ve found a way that you can completely eliminate any empty calories, such as…

Building a Better Fried Calamari (Reader Question)

In keeping with my pledge to answer all of your questions stemming from the Ask Me Anything I posted several days ago, I’ve decided to take a crack at this one: You posted a really delicious looking picture of fried calamari on the email page for this Ask Me Anything you’re doing. I searched your blog…

Ask Me Anything!

Many of you have sent me your questions about everything from substitutions in my recipes, where and how to procure ingredients to alternative, time saving cooking techniques. I’ve been flattered by your interest, but I also have come to the conclusion that I should probably start a regular forum to address your questions. I’ve also made…

Thai Food, Explained

I’m no musician, but I do love music. Perhaps that’s because I happen to think music has a lot of parallels with cooking, as I’ve previously explained. But one of the biggest parallels between music and cooking is structural. Take classical music as illustrative. We have the great composers of history who write awe inspiring…

A Brief Introduction to Tacos

Tacos are a complicated game and what separates the bad from the good from the truly exceptional is going to basically turn on three things, by my view: The tortilla itself, the overall balance of tastes and what I call “mindful contrasts” within the taco filling and between the filling and the tortilla. What I…

Wu Xing: Your Guide to Balanced Taste

The traditional Chinese conceptual framework of Wu Xing (五行), which roughly translates as “Five Elements” and is rooted in Taoist philosophy, has not only influenced East Asian cultures across China, Japan, Korea and throughout Southeast Asia, but has been applied to seemingly disparate fields of study including, but not limited to, traditional forms of medicine,…

Getting to Know Your Gut Or: How to Eat Better So You Don’t Die Early

To some extent, you could be forgiven for not knowing more about your microbiota, which has been best defined by researchers writing for the journal, Scientist, as “the ecological community of… microorganisms that literally share our body space.” In total, an adult human has roughly 100 trillion microorganism cells making up his or her microbiota. That…

The Modest Potato: Our Forgotten Friend

The appeal of potatoes has seemingly eroded over the last few decades. Once considered a savior of the working class, today the potato is credited with their undoing. With obesity and diabetes rates soaring, especially among working class people, the potato in all its processed forms is seen as a villain. To some extent, this…

A Simple Guide to the Potluck

From the holidays to summer parties, potlucks are a common practice to easing the burden of hosting large groups of people. Given that so many people are either incompetent cooks, thoughtless jerks or just plain lazy, often potlucks end up with too many chips, dessert and cheap beer and not enough genuinely delicious food. Be…

On Miso, Briefly

Everyone is talking about miso these days—the Japanese salty fermented paste usually made from soybeans. Although the purported health benefits alone are headline grabbing on a weekly basis, I don’t wish to discuss or debate that here. At best, it appears medical science has a lot more to study before we can be certain of…