Comments: Umami Dearest


The entertaining thing about umami is that up until very recently, nobody but the Japanese would admit that it existed; then a few years scientists found taste bud varieties that were sensitive to glutamic acid, and suddenly everyone was jumping on the umami bandwagon 90 years after Kikunae. (If I recall correctly, those same studies also confirmed that the traditional description of taste bud varieties being clustered in particular areas of the tongue is incorrect, and is based on one particular reporter's misinterpretation of a study many decades ago that someone became part of the "received wisdom" about taste and is now found in most textbooks.)

(Interestingly, turkey is also surprisingly high in glutamic acid content, and also has the added bonus of being chock full o' tryptophan (which is what causes that wonderful post-Thanksgiving Dinner coma).)

(Clearly, I've always wanted to be a food chemist.)

I wonder if there are more flavors we haven't discovered. There's definitely a taste difference between caffinated and caffeine-free beverages, for example. Is that a combination of the big five or is there something else at work?

Ayurveda, an ancient art of healthy living, acknowledges six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Astringent includes most legumes and greens; pungent includes spices such as ginger, cardamom, and black pepper.

Somebody called me?

Post a comment