Top 6 Soul Food Seasoning Mistakes

Food seasonings not only act as flavor enhancers, they also make food more fun to eat and cook. But unfortunately I’ve noticed six mistakes many cooks, new and experienced make when  trying to add flavor to their dishes. Not knowing how to flavor your dishes can make the difference between a successful meal and a meal thrown in the garbage can.

Here’s the 6 mistakes. Are you making any of them?

1. Over-Seasoning

This one of the biggest mistakes of new cooks, to make up for a badly cooked dish or a lack of cooking confidence many new cooks overcompensate by over doing it. This not only mutilates the taste of the dish, it can also prove unhealthy for the person who eats it. The biggest mistake is to drown the natural flavor of the food with spices. This not only ruins the food, wasting money, it also waste the potential positive eating experience.

2. Under-Seasoned

This is another mistake many people make, under seasoning food fails to bring out the natural flavor and juices of the food making it bland and boring.  Under enough in the  food can also prove unhealthy because it forces people to automatically reach for the salt shakers to help give the food taste. The better you season the food the less people will reach for the unhealthy alternatives or salt shakers.

3. Using Unhealthy Flavorings Instead of the Healthier Versions.

Many cooks make the mistake of using unhealthy spices and flavors in the name of taste. This is a personal choice, but I feel the price is too high. Especially when their are natural ways to season your food .  I use salt sparingly if at all in most of my soul food dishes. I find using acids like lemon juice, vinegar, onions, and citrus fruits can help fill the no-salt gap. High blood pressure, diabetes an strokes are a huge problem in the African American community, so finding ways to eliminate or reduce salt is essential for healthier living.

4. Doing it at the Wrong Time.

Another mistake I often see, even among experience cooks is seasoning at the wrong time. For example, some foods flavor is enhanced by seasoning before the cooking process and other flavors are enhance best by seasoning after the cooking process. For instance, you should season chicken, beef, pork, lamb, before you cook them to enhance the flavors.  You should season vegetables after the cooking process to best enhance the flavors.

5. Not Tasting the Food as You Season It.

This is one of the simple mistakes many cooks make especially when they are rushed or disorganized in the kitchen. It’s a small but a serious mistake most cooks are guilty of making at one time or another.  One of the most embarrassing situations I recall is when the executive chef would taste my food and ask me if I tasted it, and feeling awkward as I said no. I meant to but in the rush of a busy restaurant kitchen I forgot. He would always remind me that a good cook is always the first to taste his own dish, not others.  Why? Because you never want others to be the first  to taste your mistakes.

6. Using The Wrong Seasonings for the Specific Food Item.

This was one of my biggest mistakes when I first began cooking, to know what seasoning go best with what item. Many manufactures now put suggestions on the back of the bottles or packages to solve this problem.