What short list of ingredients make different things?

Hey, culinary hive mind! I need your advice. I am doing an instructional video on investing (I can explain if you're interested, just message me) and need an example. What is a group of ingredients that, when mixed in different proportions, makes different things? The example I have been presented was chocolate and avocado. Mix it in one ratio and you get mousse. Change the proportions and you have icing. I suspect there are better examples and all y'all would know. Ideally would like to find ingredients that make at least three different things when the proportions change. What would you suggest?



drbabs September 3, 2021
I don’t know if this is exactly what you’re going for, but what occurs to me here are how different spices work together. So for example, I don’t generally like cinnamon by itself, but I love it with other spices like nutmeg, ginger and cardamom in sweet dishes, and with coriander and Aleppo pepper in savory dishes. Or consider how cumin takes on different characteristics when you blend it with thyme, sumac and sesame seeds (za’tar) vs. chiles and oregano (chili powder). How you add coffee to chocolate to bring out depth of chocolate flavor, and add chocolate to chili and molé to add to the depth of flavor in those dishes. Loro Lev Sercarz has made a whole career of inventing spice blends. Here’s an article about him and his work that you might find interesting. https://food52.com/blog/19490-meet-the-man-who-wants-you-to-look-at-your-spice-rack-differently
swershing September 4, 2021
Thanks! I will definitely look into Sercarz.
AntoniaJames September 2, 2021
Flour, water, salt, butter/fat: pie crust, crackers, choux buns, popovers, biscuits (+ a leavening agent), bread and pizza dough (+ yeast or a sourdough starter), shortbread (+ sugar). ;o)
swershing September 4, 2021
Thanks. I believe I was overthinking it - the basics will likely make the best examples. Thanks for reminding me!
Nancy September 2, 2021
Another example:
Tomatoes; water, milk, broth or yogurt; other vegetables.
Depending on ratios - makes juice, soup or sauce.
swershing September 4, 2021
Ooo! Good one.
AntoniaJames September 2, 2021
Sugar, flour, butter, milk and eggs. Depending on the ratio of ingredients and how each ingredient is handled, and the order in which they’re combined, you could make pancakes, muffins, scones, cookies, the topping for a cobbler, etc. Michael Ruhlman wrote a whole book on this topic. It’s called “Ratio“. I recommend it. ;o)
AntoniaJames September 2, 2021
You could make a cake with this set of ingredients, too. And waffles, and crepes, custardy cakes, and, with some fruit, clafouti, buckles, slumps, etc. ;o)
swershing September 4, 2021
And I love Ruhlman - that sounds like exactly the right book, thanks!
AntoniaJames September 5, 2021
It's a wonderful, basic resource, conveying essential information, derived from formulas relied on by professional chefs and bakers. Of Ruhlman's many thoroughly researched and well written books, I consider this one of his best.

It's a simple paperback - no-nonsense, no photos, just a ton of information every good cook needs, concisely delivered. You will not be disappointed. ;o)
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