Essential Knowledge 18: Thresholds (疑似須知)

須知單::疑似須知
味要濃厚,不可油膩;味要清鮮,不可淡薄。此疑似之間,差之毫厘,失以千里。濃厚者,取精多而糟粕去之謂也;若徒貪肥膩,不如專食豬油矣。清鮮者,真味出而俗塵無之謂也;若徒貪淡薄,則不如飲水矣。

List of Essential Knowledge::Thresholds[1]
A dish that should be thick and rich, should not be so rich that it becomes greasy. A dish that is supposed to be umami and light, must not be so light as to taste insipid. When trying to find the thresholds for these criterion, missing by the breath of a hair can result in the complete failure of a dish. To bring out the essense of a rich dish, one should only clarify the dish to the point of removing just the sediment. If one enjoys a dish simply for its rich oiliness, one might as well eat lard. To bring out the true flavours of a light dish, one should refine the dish only to the extent that distracting flavours are removed. If one demands utterly light flavours, drinking water may be the better choice.

Random notes:
[1]: Originally this was called “distinctions”, as in, distinguishing the boundaries where good flavours become bad. But I think “threshold” works better.

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