Umami Mania

I can’t believe it’s been this long since I added a post to our blog.

I’ve been meaning to write this one about umami if for nothing else than just to post this picture:

Okay.  Thank you for indulging me.  I’m glad I got that joke out of my system.  whew!

The images above are from pamphlets that I collected when I visited the Restaurant Show in NYC.  The baby’s expressions are reactions to trying the different tastes.  Evidently, babies are happy with sweet and umami but kinda raise a stink at sour and bitter.  Which really, doesn’t seem like rocket science but now it is documented and therefore, fact.

So, if you don’t know what umami is, it’s the official 5th taste in the culinary world.  There is sweet, sour, bitter, salty and now, umami.  You many have heard this word before but do you know what it is?  Would you be able to eat something and say, “whoa!  that is way too umami?”  I think I can now!

Umami can be described as beefy, or mushroom-y.  Kinda earthy.  Tomatoes are umami.  Cheese is umami.  Kombu (seaweed) and dashi (the base with which most Japanese broths are made) are umami.   It is a savory taste that is found in glutamate.

There is umami seasoning that you can buy – used to be that MSG would provide this taste but since MSG has fallen out of favor with the health conscious, there are other glutamates (the G in MSG) that enhance the natural umami flavor of foods.  The Restaurant Show had taste test comparisons of french fries seasoned with salt and those seasoned with umami seasoning.  Both good.  Umami season has 30% less sodium.  There was also soy sauce that was seasoned with dashi (which is rich in umami flavor) that made sushi even more divine.

Would you like some umami with that?

So next time you are chowing down on burgers at the Shake Shack or In-N-Out or even a Five Guys, slow down and enjoy the umami.


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