When cooking up your own recipes, the best way to start is with the fundamentals. Once you understand flavors, you can understand how to combine them to create balanced and complex dishes. Weekly meal plan service Cook Smarts created this helpful guide to help you understand these flavors and how they can be used in cooking. Balance helps chefs cut out flavors they don't want or enhance the flavors they do want. (For example, a little sweetness can really bring out salty flavors.)

Of course, balance doesn't automatically mean it will taste good. There is some tinkering needed and none of these are hard and fast rules. It should also be noted that salty and umami have been lumped together for clarity, but are truthfully very different flavors. 

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[h/t: Imgur]