Strong vs. weak flavours

I prefer red meat, dark chocolate, red wine, Vegemite, chile peppers, strong cheeses, and minimally-adulterated spirits. My coworker prefers chicken, milk chocolate, white wine, no Vegemite or chile peppers, mild cheeses, and very, very sweet mixed drinks.

There must be something to that. Or else it’s just coincidence.

Nah, I think it might be a biological preference. I’m the same way with strong flavors; used to sneak boullion cubes out of the cupboard when I was little to suck on. Of course now that I’m grownup, I don’t have to sneak them anymore. I do recommend the cilantro ones, yum!

People’s taste buds vary quite a bit. Some people have the ability to taste a flavor called umami. Others have far more buds than usual. I have both.

So, greasy stuff tastes horrible to me. OTOH, milk chocolate is just so … amazing you can’t imagine. Dark chocolate is bitter to point of almost making me wince.

In addition, peoples tastes change over time. Especially noticeable among teens maturing in taste preferences and in older people losing some of their ability to taste. Throw in what you were raised on and there’s a huge dimension there.

There is a wide variation. Which means of course that most people assume that everyone has exactly the same preferences and anyone different from them is odd.

Look, I can taste the horrible crap in broccoli. It’s not an acquired taste. If you can’t taste, I don’t care. Whatever. But I can so drop it.

Want to sound like an idiot? Say something like “You don’t like X? That’s horrible, you poor, poor person. Maybe you just haven’t had it made right. Here, try this, it’s great. Really, it’s great. C’mon, what is the matter with you.?”

It’s not just a strong vs. weak flavor thing. It’s a lot more complicated. But I do generally prefer subtle flavors. E.g., I eat salads without dressing because I can taste the veggies quite well. OTOH, curry is 1000x too strong when used by most cooks. A trace is enough and then some.

Any chance your coworker also has red hair?

Wait, not everyone can taste umami? I thought it was one of the basic flavors.

I think that means some people can’t distinquish the taste apart from others. So people aren’t good at telling if there’s more or less umami flavor in a piece of meat, or can’t distinquish it from salt. It’s not like people are all that could at discerning flavors anyway. Without smell, people are pretty poor at seperating a lot of flavors.

Red wine, dark chocolate, certain cheeses, and certain alcohols are all bitter and about a quarter of the population is very sensitive to bitterness (about a quarter can barely taste bitter).

I’ve never known anyone to like Vegemite who didn’t grow up with it. It’s just kind of unpalatable across the board.

not sure if this is a slight hijack but I’ve noticed smokers need strong flavors (and tons of salt) just to taste anything.

I have noticed my tastes changing as I age. what was fine 30 years ago is now way too sweet.

I notice if I am eating sweets then I only like wine that is sweet. if I eat more healthy and avoid sweets, than sweet wine tastes WAY too sweet and I can enjoy a wine that is more dry.

dark meat has more flavor to me.

shrug I think it is way more complicated than strong vs weak

raises hand. And I’m not that unusual. I know several Americans who love it, too. But, yes, it’s a love/hate thing.

I’ve mostly seen it as a hate/hate-more thing :slight_smile: I’m very happy to leave plenty of it for you.

I’m like your coworker, and that’s fine by me, but people sometimes treat me like I’m some sort of abomination for some of my tastes. Liking milk chocolate better than dark chocolate? You wimp! Like sweet, fruity drinks more than a gin + tonic? You unsophisticated heathen!

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it’s harder to overwhelm a food or drink with sweetness over other tastes like sourness, saltiness, bitterness, or umami flavors; there’s seems to be a lot more inherent range to sugary stuff before you go onto the overdone-zone.

I’d WAG, there are a lot of people out there that don’t care for a bunch of different basic or complex tastes beyond sweetness, so sugar is the Great Mediator or Arbiter to bridge most of this gap.

Don’t like the bitterness in coffee or chocolate? Sugar to the rescue.

Can’t stand the sourness of grapefruit? Sprinkle a spoonful of sugar on it.

Vodka or Rum too strong? Mix it with some sugary soda.

Salt does this to a lesser degree as well, us humans being particularly hardwired to be fond of sugary and salty foods.

My sister, the special ed teacher, once mentioned a preference for intense flavors as a marker of autism. I’m not sure what to make of that. I crave intense flavors, but think of myself as just barely past average on the Asperger’s side of the scale.

I don’t really like the terminology ‘strong vs weak’ when discussing flavour - and I’m not just being PC. Diluted things have ‘weak’ flavours, but in terms of taste, a lot of the things you might be calling ‘weak’ are actually subtle.

I mean, I like powerful flavours - I like cheese so mature hurts your face when you eat it, and I occasionally get caught eating Marmite from the jar with a spoon, but things like mild cheeses, white wine, milk chocolate and chicken aren’t lacking, or ‘weak’ in flavour - they just have subtlety that doesn’t leap out and smack you in the face.

It’s very hard to have balance or complexity when powerful flavours are in the mix - for example, the hottest curries aren’t very interesting to eat - they’ll be intensely pungent, but aroma is just lost in there somewhere, whereas something like, say, Tonkotsu ramen is very mild, but has layer upon layer of subtle flavours that wash over your senses when you eat it.

To me, “strong” flavor would be something like paprika, that doesn’t need very much quantity to influence a dish. “Weak” would be fresh parsley, which loses it’s delicate flavor easily with heat or other ingredients.

My mother-in-law is one of those genetic super-tasters, and yet she smokes. Bland was the name of the game on the rare occations she cooked. Complex flavor was a foreign language to my wife. Now she loves heat, and likes everything except tart.