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How to Give Good Flavor to Vegetarian Foods

The flavor of meat is proverbial and stimulates the appetite and flow of digestive juices. The savor arises from natural components present in meat. One of these is glutamic acid which also occurs in wheat, soya and many other plant proteins. Proteins can by hydrolyzed or neutralized to give monosodium glutamate which is used to intensify meat and vegetable flavors. The Chinese have been doing this for centuries as soy sauce, which is on every table in Chinese restaurants to add a savory taste to foods.

Western versions of soy sauce are such savory extracts as Maggi and Vesop. Modern food technology is producing a wide variety of savory tastes from hydrolyzed proteins of yeast. In addition to the yeast extracts, which are valuable for B vitamins, as well as for flavors, there are the specific savory flavors such as bacon and chicken which are wholly vegetarian in origin. Savory powders containing monosodium glutamate are sols are Aromat, Accent and the Japanese salts Ajinomoto and Ve-tsin. Seasoned salts, seasoned pepper and garlic salt are useful seasonings to buy.

Good savory flavors can also be produced in food by careful cooking and seasoning. Celery, mushrooms and onions, cooked gently with fat and seasoned with salt produce an especially savory taste which contains glutamate from the vegetables and seasoning.

The following list of herbs, spices and flavorings used in the recipes gives an idea of the most suitable ones to have in stock in your kitchen.

• Dried vegetables–celery flakes, dried onion and mushrooms.

• Dried herbs–in addition to mixed herbs, keep basil, marjoram, sage and thyme.

• Fresh herbs–there are worth growing in pots or window boxes – chives, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, parsley, sage and thyme.

• Dries spices–cloves, cinnamon, coriander, cumin seeds, ginger, ground mace, peppercorns and whole nutmeg.

• Fresh spices–coriander and curry leaves.

• Green ginger–this gives a particularly fresh taste to juice and fresh, store in a screw-top jar in the refrigerator. To store a quantity (because it is difficult to buy) bury ginger root in a pot of sand and water it occasionally.

• Garlic bulb–these should be stored in an airy, dry place, not in a closed container or they will go mouldy. Cut garlic will keep in a mixture of oil and salt in an open jar in the kitchen or in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator.

• Sea salt–comes in coarse crystals and has a stronger flavor than ordinary table salt. It is especially nice with buttered jacket potatoes.

• Sauces–Maggi, tomato, Vesop and Worcester.

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