PenFed - Grow Your Dough

Spice It Up

Spice up your food…and your life. Whether it is balmy and breezy or cold and snowing, there is nothing so tantalizingly tempting as the aroma of a delicious repast developing in the kitchen.
Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day, honored in late autumn, is a celebration of herbs and foods cooked with originality and innovation to promote health and longevity, while maybe offering a little bit of offense. Although it is only observed once a year, it can be put into practice year round, with meal ingredients including up to each of the “six tastes:”

  1. Bitter
    (light, cooling, dry) dark leafy greens, herbs, spices, beer, chocolate, coffee
  2. Pungent
    (hottest, dry, light) all peppers, garlic and onion, herbs, spices, horseradish, peppercorns
  3. Sour
    (hot, light, moist) sour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods, wine
  4. Salty
    (hot, heavy, moist) natural salts, fish, sea vegetables
  5. Sweet
    (heavy, moist, cooling) fruit, grains, natural sugars, dairy
  6. Astringent
    (dry, cooling, heavy) legumes, raw fruits and vegetables, herbs

Bold and Pungent ramps up ordinary cooking and can make it extraordinary. This may not always be in a good way, so a bit of caution is advised. Side effects may include lingering scents days after meal prep (which may make you hungry every time you walk through your front door); overly spicy or pungent meals (which may not be appetizing to everyone); and a rather pungent breath. Just remember, while you may enjoy garlic breath it might not be the best thing to have at work, unless, of course, your coworkers all love garlic.

Whether you want to heat it up with pungent, salty or sour or cool it down with astringent, bitter or sweet, Bold and Pungent offers an endless variety of possibilities. If you are looking for a pleasing balance based on your body’s natural tastes and desires, try a mix of sweet, sour, salty; sweet, bitter, astringent; or pungent, bitter, astringent. And, as long as you are giving Bold and Pungent a try, why not create a strong, balancing union of all “six tastes.” Pick your favorite combination and then add a dash or sprinkle of any missing “tastes.” It’s as easy as adding a squeeze of lemon juice if the “taste” you are missing in your meal is sour.

The “six” tend to cover the full spectrum of dietary and nutritional needs, so adding all “six tastes” is a far more pleasant way to cook than counting proteins and carbs. They also have considerable health benefits, from reducing fevers (bitter) to clearing the sinuses (pungent), calming the nerves (salty) to building vital tissue (sweet), and strengthening the heart (sour), just to name a very few. And the big bonus…incorporating each of the “tastes” in meals helps reduce cravings and over consumption.

While you may only want to be proud of your garlic breath on Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day, there is no reason not to be Bold and Pungent every day. Give one of the below suggestions a try or create something entirely new. Host a Bold and Pungent Pot Luck or just ramp up your own meals.

Bon appétit.

• Blue Cheese Mac & Cheese
• Artichoke & Roasted Garlic Dip
• Spicy Garlic Shrimp
• Mediterranean Tortilla Pizza
• Kimchi
• Pad Thai
• Ginger Chili Citrus Salmon
• Cajun Crawfish & Shrimp Etouffe
• Chili with Gorgonzola


Notes: There are many benefits to each of the “six tastes,” as well as a wide variety of how the herbs and foods break down between them. Check the sources online for more information.

About Jenifer Chrisman

Jenifer joined the MWR Marketing team in 2011 as graphic designer. In 2014, she went back to her roots when she joined the Fort Gordon FYI Magazine team as a writer, along with her designer duties. As of 2015, she has created a series of briefs about the history, culture and traditions of the military called Culture.Mil, as well as writing various other pieces, including her favorite ... A Thin Line Of Many Colors.

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