My Truths #126 (umami)

by Stephanie

Umami is that taste sensation that you can’t pinpoint. I took my kids out for Japanese food last night and it got me thinking about umami. We all know sweet, salty, sour and bitter but did you know that there is a 5th taste? According to Wikipedia Umami /uːˈmɑːmi/, a savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes {…}. A loanword from the Japanese, umami can be translated “pleasant savory taste”.  It goes on to say

“Umami has a mild but lasting aftertaste difficult to describe. It induces salivation and a sensation of furriness on the tongue, stimulating the throat, the roof and the back of the mouth. By itself, umami is not palatable, but it makes a great variety of foods pleasant especially in the presence of a matching aroma.”

Some foods that are known to be high umami foods include meat and vegetables. Maybe that’s why people find the Primal diet so satisfying.  Mushrooms have an especially high umami factor. Parmesan cheese is another big one which is why I love Primal over Paleo… I can’t imagine life without cheese!

MSG also imparts umami taste to food. MSG has received a bad reputation in North America. It’s perhaps because it is overused and only a tiny amount is required to get the desired taste.

Here’s an interesting article on umami