The most dramatic changes that took place during the seventeenth century in French culinary techniques concern seasoning. The strong flavors of the Middle Ages still had some adherents but were increasingly rejected in favor of sauces made with fat, which were thought to preserve more natural flavor. While spices still figured in about two-thirds of recipes, a proportion just as high as in the Middle Ages, they were used more sparingly. This statement is difficult to prove on the basis of cookbooks alone, because recipes were still imprecise. However, there are the reports of French travelers, who complained of foreign cooking too spicy to eat. Such complaints, which do not appear until the mid-seventeenth century, attest to a change of sensibilities.
In the context in which it appears, "sensibilities" most nearly means
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