Saturday, April 27, 2013

Reading post: The fifth taste- Umami

I am huge fan of Marmite but its a hard taste to describe. Apparently however western scientists are starting to recognize a fifth taste, umami- to describe the strong savory flavor of food like Marmite, Parmesan cheese, anchovies and the taste enhancer MSG.  (The four other tastes are of course sweet, sour, salty and bitter). This article from The Guardian's great " Word of Mouth" food blog  is a great introduction to umami.

"So why is bolognese sauce with cheese on top, or a cheeseburger with ketchup so finger-licking good? Because, says Laura Santtini, creator of the umami condiment Taste No 5 Umami Paste, when it comes to savoury, "1+1=8". In the simplest terms, umami actually comes from glutamates and a group of chemicals called ribonucleotides, which also occur naturally in many foods. When you combine ingredients containing these different umami-giving compounds, they enhance one another so the dish packs more flavour points than the sum of its parts." 

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