Umami

tastes like chicken

Umami [oo-mah-mee], also referred to as savoriness, has been proposed as one of the basic tastes sensed by specialized receptor cells present on the human and animal tongue. Umami is a loanword from Japanese meaning ‘good flavor’ or ‘good taste.’ In English, however, ‘brothy,’ ‘meaty,’ or savory’ have been proposed as alternative translations. Inasmuch as it describes the flavor common to savory products such as meat, cheese, and mushrooms, umami is similar to French gastronome Brillat-Savarin’s concept of osmazome, an early attempt to describe the main flavoring component of meat as extracted in the process of making stock.

The umami taste is due to the detection of the carboxylate anion of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid common in meat, cheese, broth, stock, and other protein-heavy foods. Salts of glutamic acid, known as glutamates, easily ionize to give the same carboxylate form and therefore the same taste. For this reason, they are used as flavor enhancers. The most commonly used of these is monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.