Reference > Cooking Methods & Techniques > Tasting


This is the most difficult, and at the same time the most delicate, part of seasoning; it is by tasting that we ascertain if we have seasoned properly.

In this only two of the senses are engaged, and one of those much more than the other.

A person may have good feeling, hearing, and sight, and for all that would not be fit for preparing the simplest dish; the senses of smelling and tasting are the ones most required, and without which no one can cook properly.

For these reasons we will take the liberty to recommend to housekeepers, when they have new cooks, to instruct them on their taste, and always let them know when they have seasoned too much or too little. To the cooks we will say, do not season according to your own taste, if the persons for whom you cook do not like it.

If the housekeeper would give his or her candid and frank opinion of the dishes to the cook, and if the latter be not stubborn, the best results might be obtained and both would be benefited by it. That ought to be done every day while making the bill of fare.

To taste a sauce, as well as to know if a thing is good to eat, we cannot trust either our eyes, fingers, or ears; we then have recourse, first to our smelling, and then to our tasting: so do most animals.

We always commence by smelling, and when that sense is satisfied as far as it is concerned, we then apply our tasting qualities; and if that last one is, in its turn, satisfied also, we proceed, that is, we masticate, if mastication is necessary, and then swallow.


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Hand-Book of Practical Cookery (1884).

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