I listen to Sticky Notes. It is described as the podcast for anyone who loves classical music, or is just getting ready to dive in for the very first time. One of the things I enjoy most about the podcast is the explanation themes in the music: Repetitive elements that literally play against each other. It always makes me think about food. What makes the perfect bite? What makes one dish sing while another whimpers? Like music it is the play between themes that the Food Network has made us all so familiar: Salty & Sweet, Crunchy & Creamy, Spicy & Cool.
At Bite Society we make a LOT of food. Our background as caterers makes us natural dish creators and developers. When we started Bite Society, we looked back at a lot of our old recipes. We wondered how they would fare packaged for retail. We remembered the quick pickled carrots that we put as the base for a passed hors d’ oeuvre and pondered how they would work as a jarred pickle (spoiler alert: AWESOME). After twenty years as cookie makers, how could we turn our favorite shortbread into a preservative free cookie with a shelf life that was loaded with flavor? Add orange and fennel, silly goose.
Along the way, we tasted many iterations of these recipes and so many more. Some were elusive and others were instant winners, but in every case, we were searching for the yin to the yang of what we had just made. Harissa in the carrot brine brought a smokey spicy counterpoint to the carrot. Winner! Orange and Fennel went together as well in a cookie as they did in a Winter salad. We kept testing and tasting our Salsa Macha as we balanced heat, sweet, crunch, and smooth. We can honestly say that you can eat it by the spoonful, because we did.
As I listen to my podcast about music, I think about the attention-getting top notes of sweet or tangy and how they can be balanced by smokey, spicy or nutty. We recently asked our chef, Bob what his favorite Bite Society bite was, and he was stumped. Like a parent picking his favorite child, he recounted the process of making so many of our goods and how each challenge held a different triumph or struggle. We will get no help from Bob. We will just have to eat them all.