In the mid 1990s, scientists proved that the human tongue has taste receptors that can detect not only the four long-accepted main tastes--sweet, sour, salty, and bitter--but also a fifth taste: umami (the Japanese word for "delicious," pronounced oo-MA-mee). Umami gives food a rich, deep, satisfying taste and velvety "mouth feel."
Human beings are genetically programmed to love the umami taste. Now that scientists have shown how to achieve it--by using foods high in glutamates and ribonucleotides, such as meat, fish, dairy products, and certain vegetable--chefs, culinary schools, and even food manufacturers are transforming their recipes and techniques.
By learning how to intensify the deep, delicious, satisfying "fifth taste," chefs and culinary students have entered a bold new frontier of flavor.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Umami Information Center
Wall Street Journal
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