Unlocking the Mysteries of Umami

Life consists in penetrating the unknown, and fashioning our actions in accord with the new knowledge thus acquired. ~Leo Tolstoy

Food and Drink on The TimesOnline.co.uk

Umami, known as the "fifth taste," has become something of a quest for chefs around the world. At umami summits in London, New York, San Francisco and Kyoto, chefs explore the concept, which is derived from the Japanese word for "delicious."
It's found in breast milk, Marmite and mushrooms, and the Japanese have known about it for years. Now the rest of us are catching up.
Yoshihiro Murata is holding up a length of kombu, a dried seaweed. The Japanese chef is explaining how he makes dashi, the stock at the heart of Japanese cuisine. His audience, mostly top British chefs, is gripped. Dashi, you see, unlocks the key to umami - the “fifth taste” after sweet, sour, salt and bitter. ...
Full Story:
... Umami: the mystery of the fifth taste; by Fiona Sims

The Gastronomer on The WashingtonPost

Why We Crave It, and How to Do It With Or Without a Grill.
Smoking isn't even half as bad as it has been made out to be. The 19th-century satirist and Know-Nothing Party activist George D. Prentice put it succulently: "Much smoking kills live men and cures dead swine."
Although smoking cigarettes has nearly become anathema in modern society, smoking foods is more in vogue than ever. Smoke, it seems, is like a fifth flavor (or sixth, if you allow for umami), ...
Full Story: Where There's Smoke, There's Flavor; By Andreas Viestad

Food & Wine on the MercuryNews.com

The high holy day of hot dogs and hamburgers is fast approaching, and as our consumption of these summertime cookout staples reaches its peak on the Fourth of July, you can bet a bottle of ketchup is somewhere nearby. After all, this is a condiment born in America, right?
Well, no. At least, not unless you're talking strictly tomatoes — but we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Ketchup as we know it originated and evolved in far-flung locations, and ...
Full Story: How ketchup conquered American taste buds; By Jennifer Graue

What exactly is umami?
Taking its name from Japanese, umami is a pleasant savoury taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. As the taste of umami itself is subtle and blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavours, most people don’t recognise umami when they encounter it, ...
Full Story: UMAMI News

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