Umami: The Meat of the Matter

When discussing umami, I have consistently described it as “savory,” “satisfying,” and “meaty.” What is more “meaty,” than meat? It is true that meat and poultry have a great deal of potential umami locked within them. Since umami is nothing but the flavor of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and muscle […]

Umami In The West

After the long series of posts where I outlined the prevalance of umami ingredients in use in Asia, this singular post on umami ingredients from Europe and the Americas will seem rather paltry by comparison. The fact is, however, when it comes to Western methods of using the umami flavor, cooks traditionally have reached for […]

Weekend Cat Blogging: Mamma’s Got a Brand New (Old) Chair!

You know, cats are strange. They just love to discover a new, or rather, old friend. They love this chair that Zak’s Grandpa handed down to us when he had his condo redecorated. It is a comfy chair, too, it rocks and swivels and is very cushy. I don’t love the upholstery, but it isn’t […]

Morganna’s Recipe: Umami Chicken, Mushrooms and Gai Lan

Just after I started this series of posts on the topic of “the fifth taste,” Morganna came up to me and said, “Mom, can I make dinner tonight? I had an idea for a recipe.” “What do you want to make?” I asked. “I want to stir fry chicken with fermented black beans, black mushrooms, […]

Umami : The Power of Fermentation and Fungus

The last category of umami ingredients from Asia contains what at first appears to be a disparate group of food items: wine, kimchee, pickled and preserved vegetables, mushrooms, rice and vinegar. Believe it or not, all of these items have characteristics in common–they all involve fungi or bacteria in some way, shape or form. Yeast […]

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