Just when you thought it was safe to attempt to recreate recipes from the Food Network they throw one more thing your way. Evidently they have discovered a 5th taste and that taste is Umami. Great, one more thing for me to worry about while creating that infamous 'perfectly balanced dish.'
Most of us remember learning about taste by looking at a picture of a tongue in elementary school. The various areas of the tongue were labeled with whichever taste buds were primarily located there. Most of us are therefore familiar with the tastes sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Evidently they missed a taste or even maybe two. Perhaps that was because these tastes were still floating in the imagination of future chefs.
Umami, which translates literally into ‘deliciousness’ in Japanese is described as the rich savory tastes associated with a hearty soup or grilled meat. I admit I’m a little lost on what that really means but hey I’m still confused with the difference between bitter and sour. What is sour like a lemon pulp and bitter is the rind? My pallet is obviously not refined enough to tell the difference between, nasty and just kind of nasty.
I first heard of this mysterious 5th taste on Iron Chef America from one of the pompous judges. I call him pompous because he not only knew more than me which was understandable and expected. What really annoyed me was the arrogant way he proceeded to ‘educate’ the chef that he as judging like Umami has been around forever. Maybe I am just hating because he did pique my interest in what I as missing in this new taste.
I found a product called Taste No. 5 Umami Paste it only costs around $6.00. A small price to pay to satisfy my curiosity. I almost purchased it until I saw the ingredients list: parmesan cheese, black olives, garlic, tomatoes, anchovies and mushrooms. I t sounds like a list of pizza toppings but not necessarily ‘deliciousness’. Hmmm, if only they added some pepperoni.
Let me know how you like it!