What do they mean when they say there is a good balance between acidity and another flavor when critiquing food?

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Chefs on the cooking shows are always talking about balance of flavors when cooking. Particularly they mention acidity needed or not needed.

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2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

well, consider the case of lemonade. the sugar balances the acidity making a pleasant and refreshing drink. lemonade without enough sugar is unpleasant. lemonade without enough lemon juice is also not great. but with the right balance, it’s a fantastic thing.

this applies to all kinds of stuff. sometimes a dish has a good base of rich savory flavors, but without acidity the dish will feel heavy and flat. a little bit of acid can balance that out and make the dish feel lighter and brighter.

Anonymous 0 Comments

As a general rule in cooking there is a basic breakdown of flavor families – Salty, Sweet, Bitter, Sour, and Umami.

If you wanted to be a food nerd you would see patterns in “good food” and “good chefs” know how to combine these patterns in the flavor groups into something humans enjoy eating.

A really big thing that “good chefs” know is that acidity, aka the ‘sour flavor’, is really important to making food taste good. It’s just chemistry but even if you adding acidity below the ability of the human tongue’s ability to taste it, the combination of the acidity and other flavors *you can taste* make it taste FUCKING AWESOME.

It’s popular wisdom in “I’m learning to cook 101” that laypeople don’t add nearly enough acidity to their meals and you’ll know someone who is a decent home cook because they have, like, 5 different kinds of vinegar on hand 24/7 to add to their food.

As an easy example, think *condiments*. Why do condiments exist in the first place? Well think – what are they? They are all basically a strong acid with flavor mixed in. Ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, mayo, hot sauce, hoisin sauce, etc. *these are all extremely acidic* and they make food taste fucking amazing.