Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Won't Miss #22 - pretty, but bland pastries (reflection)


As people get older, their taste buds are supposed to weaken such that they can't taste things as they could when they were younger. That's why they supposedly start to like strong-tasting food like Limburger cheese, brawnschweiger, raw onion, and mustard. I believe that, while it is true that people's taste buds change as they age, I also think that we build can obliterate the sensitivity of them by eating things which are too intense all of the time. There's an extremely inappropriate equivalency statement that I could make about women who use devices to pleasure themselves, but I won't state it outright. Those who are dirty-minded will get it, and I shall refrain from sullying the minds of those who are pure and clean of thought.

The thing I have realized since returning to the U.S. is that years of eating Japanese food have left my taste buds relatively sensitive to certain things. One of those things is sugar. I find it very hard to bear a lot of sweets in the U.S. because they are overbearingly sugary. Sugar and salt here obliterate the flavor depth of many of the packaged foods I might try. The truth is that, though I said I wouldn't miss them, I do miss those pretty, but bland pastries. They weren't very sweet, but at least I could taste the flavors that were in them because they weren't "flavor-blasted" out of existence. 

9 comments:

  1. Although I am not currently living in Japan, my wife is Japanese and we eat Japanese style for the most part (We have several local Asian supermarkets that can support our needs).

    I have found exactly as you have, I can no longer tolerate the amount of sugar (and to a lesser extent salt) in North American snack foods and desserts. This is despite having a huge sweet tooth when I was younger. In my case the change happened over the course of only a few years, which I find quite amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm guessing one can be de-sensitized again as time goes by, but I'm not sure that I want to be. There's really not much benefit in becoming inured to sugar-bombs, is there? ;-)

      Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
    2. I'm pretty much the same way. Chips and such I can still tolerate, but pretty much anything baked or in candy bar form is out of the question now for me. There's a Japanese bakery and a French bakery nearby that do offer foods I can stomach but the stuff they sell at the local supermarket is so laden with sugar that I can't eat more than a few bites.

      Delete
  2. There's a profound difference even between American and Australian food. I noticed FBC had pop-tarts and I ordered some in a fit of nostalgia, but they were the American kind and nothing like the ones I remembered from Australia. All I could taste was sugar, they could have been literally any flavour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I noticed a similar thing when I travelled to America. Among other things, I tried a soft drink which looked to be something like red Fanta, but was so unimaginably sweet that I just couldn't choke it down, even when I tried mixing it with lemonade (which, amusingly, was the opposite - unlike the sugary Australian version, this lemonade was little more than lemon juice with bubbles).

      Delete
  3. Funy - moving to Japan from Europe, I found everything to be overly sweet, and often things to sickeningly sweet that should be spicy. Japanese ham, Japanese curry (not all though), orange juice, are all too sweet. The Japanese often interchange "oishii" for "amai", which is a hint that the taste tends to favor sweetness over saltiness.
    Most of the items that have been brought in from other cultures, such as ham, bacon, pastries, etc. are the worst offenders in terms of sweetness. I have never been to the US but if Kelloggs cereals are any kind of indicator, I get your point that US food has too much sugar.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The problem is most people from other countries never go to or try home-made foods when they first come to America. Always sweets, junk foods, and other things that would obviously be filled with sugar. I myself suffer from an overly sensitive taste bud and if i'm not careful some foods like super sweet lemonade actually burn it. The Sugar industry is strong here and they'll fight and black mail every company tooth and nail to keep themselves in business. In fact just a few months ago it was reported that the dairy industry was so desperate to get people drinking more milk that they were going to attempt to add artificial sweeteners in milk, milk! why? "Because young children need to eat healthier options. Unfortunately they are so obsessed with sodas we thought that if we made milk a tad bit sweeter we could attract them back to the milk products." <-messed up logic.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Though I am not going to lie, I consider myself a connoisseur of pastries and desserts. I have tasted many desserts from various cultures and Japan's does lack a sweetness profile by comparison to most western cultures. At first, I believed it to be a taste thing (pallet appeaser) but even when shown alternative means to balance sweetness with flavor profile they still tend to come up on the short end of things. The irony is that while the pastries may not be as sweet they are by no means healthier than options found in the US. In fact, most cooks /p√Ętissiers, professional and otherwise, have learned to substitute the unhealthy ingredients with ones that can offer just as much flavor and are an all-around healthier option. That concept, diverting from the recipe, seems utterly confuse many people from Japan whom I have personally interacted with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many times, I have noted that Japanese food, though less sweet, it is not healthier. A lot of the time, compromised fats are more abundant in Japanese sweets for starters.

      The bottom line, in many cases, is that improving flavor profile costs more and most businesses are unwilling to invest in a better quality product by using more expensive additional ingredients. You are absolutely right, as well, about the inability to deviate from the recipe!

      Delete

Comments are moderated and will not show up immediately. If you want to make sure that your comment survives moderation, be respectful. Pretend you're giving feedback to your boss and would like a raise when you're speaking. Comments that reflect anger or a bad attitude on the part of the poster will not be posted. I strongly recommend reading the posts "What This Blog Is and Is Not" and "Why There Were No Comments" (in the sidebar under "FYI") before commenting.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.