aste is a very important consideration in food.  Eating things that taste bland, or bad, is not only no fun, itís not the best for overall health.  In order for life to be a full, rich experience, foods need to taste good!

 Using seasonings is where the true artistry in cooking comes in.  Often we eat high fat foods because the fats are what carry the flavours in foods.  Fat, salt, and sweet are the basic flavour experiences many of us grew up with.  The problem is all three of these need to be used in moderation to avoid serious health problems.  When we learn to use other seasonings and herbs to flavour our foods, the healthier they become.

How do you want your food to taste?  The seasonings are what add much to this dimension. Learning the basics with this takes a little experimentation, but the principles are easy.  After a little practice you can flavour your food just the way you want it to taste!

Since most of us eat about two to three times the amount of salt that is good for us, using other flavours is an important skill to acquire.  High salt intake is directly linked to high blood pressure, which is a killer over the long haul.  Itís hard to feel good when our blood pressure is high, and itís silently harming our hearts, blood vessels and kidneys.  While we may not be able to completely control other contributing factors to high blood pressure, like stress and heredity, we can control our salt intake.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering seasonings is that spices that are hot when cold, like black and red pepper, are not the best for either the nervous system or the stomach.  Weíre better off letting our taste buds adjust to the milder seasonings.  When we use hot spices, nothing else seems to taste good, as our taste buds cannot taste anything but the strong chemicals. 

As itís the fats and oils in foods that have the most taste, this is something that can get us into trouble.  We enjoy deep fried foods, with lots of salt, because they taste good and we are used to them.  Cheeses and many other prepared foods we customarily use have a high salt content, and we often add salt to our foods to further enhance the flavour.  The problem is, as we have been looking at, the high fat, high salt, diet is not the best for our heart and circulatory system, immune system, and seems to exaggerate problems like arthritis.  A high fat diet is also implicated in type II diabetes. 

Garlic is a very nutritious seasoning that goes well in many dishes.  From Italian to Chinese, garlic has much to offer.  While some like to use fresh garlic, many keep garlic powder or flakes on hand. An easy way to skin fresh garlic is to crush the cloves by rolling with a rolling pin.  The skin come right off and it's easy to chop up or crush in a garlic press (a good item to add to the kitchen tools!). Garlic is always good in soups and vegetable dishes, and I even like it on popcorn with a little olive oil.  Spice World in Waterford has garlic powder, and many other herbs and spices, in bulk quantities at reasonable process.

Herbs like thyme, parsley, and dill seeds can add flavour to vegetable dishes and soups.  Oregano and basal go well in Italian dishes like spaghetti and pastas.  Cumin and chili peppers are a must for Mexican type dishes, along with fresh coriander (also called cilantro).  Cardamom and coriander power in combination give a zesty flavour to deserts, as does cinnamon. Ginger, anise and soy sauce are imperative to Chinese cooking, and curry powder, cumin, ginger, mustard seed and coriander are important to Indian cooking.

There is a whole world of flavours waiting to be unlocked with your special touch.  Doing a little research on line about ethnic foods can get you started with using various herbs and seasonings to produce the different flavours you desire.  With a little practice, you can have the best tasting food in your neighbourhood!

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