Cooking is like painting with flavors, but sometimes even a small dab of the wrong color can ruin the whole picture. Sure, celery, anise, and cilantro are great in some dishes, but add them carelessly and they can overwhelm your meal. Here's a list of 10 ingredients that can quickly become the culprit behind a culinary disaster if not used wisely.
Table of Contents
- 1. Capers
- 2. Celery
- 3. Liquid Smoke
- 4. Licorice or Anise
- 5. Rose Water
- 6. Cilantro
- 7. Olives
- 8. Truffle Oil
- 9. Cucumber
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A funny exchange over the thread saw one commenter show love for capers, saying how one quart is nine dollars at Costco. A responder replies that they would pay that amount to never have them in a meal again. The latter statement fills my heart with love fuelled by a shared hatred of this ingredient.
Anybody who enjoys a bloody Mary or buffalo wings and dip swears by celery. Like olives, cucumber, or cilantro, celery has such a distinct flavor that it can contaminate a dish even after removal. So naturally, Italian cooks were up in arms. Celery is in the Holy Trinity of sauce vegetables, onion, garlic, and celery.
3. Liquid Smoke
When liquid smoke appears in a link, you know real foodies are involved. I have never tried this one, but I am a fan of real smoke in my meat. However, the consensus here was that chefs are overusing this potent flavoring to the detriment of their recipes.
4. Licorice or Anise
Did you know licorice is the stem of a flowering plant? There was particular malice toward this strange ingredient. Even though seeing it in a recipe is rare, some chefs use it in desserts; others even cook it with meat. The famous sweet snack comes from the juice of the licorice plant Glycyrrhiza Glabra.
5. Rose Water
Rose water is not prominent in western cooking. When used in moderation, rose water adds a rich, perfume note to Middle-Eastern desserts and pastries. However, western chefs struggle to judge the amount needed, leading to rose-flavored everything. Nobody wants that.
I like to call cilantro Taco's frenemy because just the right amount works with the spicy meat filling; get it wrong, and you have ruined a perfect relationship.
When used in excess, coriander becomes an obnoxious flavor for some people. Chopping it into fine pieces mitigates getting a leaf stuck in your gums — which borders on trauma for some.
A hilarious reaction to this suggestion was an allusion to the "just pick out the olives" trope. This poster then declared that the instruction was defunct.
Removing olives is pointless if the taste and smell of a rotting carcass have contaminated your food." I can empathize, although a toasted bagel with olive tapenade and cream cheese tastes wonderful.
8. Truffle Oil
One of the most expensive items on the list is truffles, which wealthy people (or those with a truffle-hunting mammal) shave onto their pasta or risotto. However, many in the thread waxed lyrically about their hatred of truffle oil ruining their fries or pasta dish.
Cucumbers have an image problem. In unpeeled form, it resembles a diseased, wart-covered green bioweapon. When peeled and shaved, some people swear by the healing properties of a very healthy vegetable. However, like celery, cucumber has that knack for flavoring everything in the dish, even after being discarded.
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