Again, I’m using a word I don’t really know the meaning of – Umami. So I googled it – a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavor of glutamates, especially monosodium glutamate. Hmmmm…. glutamate – In neuroscience, glutamate refers to the anion of glutamic acid in its role as a neurotransmitter: a chemical that nerve cells use to send signals to other cells. Anion – will this ever end??? – An anion is an ion that has gained one or more electrons, giving a net negative charge. Because electrons are added to form an anion, the anion of an atom is bigger than the neutral atom.
Here is the simple answer I was hoping to find!
What is the flavor of umami? Umami is your fifth basic taste alongside sour, sweet, bitter, and salty. Japanese scientists discovered this fifth flavor in the early 20th century and called it “umami,” which translates to “savory”. Okay – so spicy or salty but not sweet. That was a long road to get the answer I was looking for.
Hopefully ‘Umami’ isn’t so yesterday, a term for 2021. I hope it’s still a relevant term but sometimes I’m a little late for the party. This last week I’ve made a few dishes I consider to be savory. I found a recipe for Japchae that uses sweet potato starch noodles – not low in carbs but delicious. It is seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and a smidge of brown sugar. We had a spiral cut ham that I topped with ‘cowboy caviar’ aka pickled mustard seeds – not umami but very oooooooh mommy! We finished the week with a bowl of French Onion soup, topped with provolone instead of gruyere because that is what was in the fridge! It’s been a savory, good week.
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