People who think they know me often express surprise when they learn that I watch reality TV. I have already written about So You Think You Can Dance. I also watch Survivor, The Amazing Race and Dancing with the Stars. Recently several food shows have made it onto the list of items to be recorded each week. I just finished a season of Master Chef and have started with Master Chef Junior. I also tape all possible episodes of Chopped when my cable provider makes the Food Channel free for a month. I could go on and on about what I learn from watching these shows but I don't think it is necessary. I'm not doing any harm so don't think I need to justify my behaviour.
The snobbish food-speak of the hosts and participants on the cooking shows is often hard to take. Recently the hot phrase has been "flavour profile". I have no idea what that means and I often suspect the participants are also vague about the term. But yesterday I got an inkling about what they might be describing.
In an effort to use two huge squash from the CSA I searched for a recipe for squash soup - something different from my usual approach. In a book about the cooking of the indigenous peoples of the southwestern US I found a recipe that would also let me use some old frozen corn, the end of a piece of ginger and some limes that wouldn't hold up much longer. The corn and squash went into the soup and the ginger and lime were mixed into whipped cream that was served on top of the soup. When I took my first bite, I suddenly understood what a flavour profile might be. I could taste layer upon layer. Some of the associations were familiar and others were surprising. Here's the recipe if you want to taste for yourself.