Umami!....What is that?by Lee Ewing on 04/05/11
Have you ever heard of the word Umami (ooh-mommy) in commercials or television broadcasts? It came to my mind last night when I made some black truffle parmesan popcorn for a board meeting last night. The definition of the word "Umami" as quoted by Wiki, " Popularly referred to as savoriness, is one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami is a loanword from the Japanese umami (???) meaning "pleasant savory taste". This particular writing was chosen by Professor Kikunae Ikeda from umai (???) "delicious" and mi (?) "taste". The Chinese characters ?? are used for a more general meaning, when a particular food is delicious."
So what does all of this mean? Well, it means that there is a fifth taste besides the four we have all been taught since 1st. grade, and umami is in fact delicious! The best way I can describe the taste of umami is when you eat a mushroom such as a morel, chantrell, or a sliver of truffle. It's that woodsy, savory flavor that hits your palate. If you are'nt careful, umami can overpower everything else because it is so prominent!
So, the next time you saute up some mushrooms, don't forget about umami and how delicious it is! Bon appetit!