Friday, November 14, 2008

New Thing #308--Fascinating!

I've been seeing this commercials on the Food Network a lot:

I had no idea what it were talking about, so today I learned about umami.

When I was in school, I learned that the human tongue could identify four tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. However, they've now added a fifth taste that's called umami.

According to the UMAMI Information Center, umami is "a pleasant savory taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid...which occurs naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products." A Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda coined the word umami in the early 1900s, although it wasn't officially recognized until this decade.

Some sources of umami (compliments of The Nibble):
  • foods made from fermented beans or grains like soy sauce
  • foods made from fermented seafood such as anchovy paste and Asian fish sauces
  • condiments like bouillon cubes, ketchup, MSG, steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce
  • dairy products such as aged cheeses, blue cheese, yogurt and sour cream
  • cured pork products like bacon, ham, ham hocks, salt pork, and sausages
  • fish and fish products like anchovies, dried shrimp, and seafood broths like bouillabaisse, gumbo, and Japanese dashi
  • meat stocks, particularly beef and veal stock
  • mushrooms, especially dried
  • tomatoes and tomato products
***Although it's not technically a food, monosodium glutamate (MSG) has a strong umami taste

1 comment:

  1. That is why so many people are addicted to MSG and don't even know it - because of the pleasing taste [and it's in everything that has been processed pretty much].

    I love this flavour - all of my favourite foods have this flavour.