January 7, 2005 10:54 PM Subscribe
It used to be that there were four basic tastes- Sour, Sweet, Salty, and Bitter. Now there are five. Umami
is the fifth. More commonly thought of as "Savory"
, the taste is connected to receptors
that sense Glutamic acid. In fact, the first taste receptor ever discovered
was one that interacts with glutamate.
While Monosodium Glutamate
has gotten a bad reputation
, most sources agree that it's relatively harmless
, and in fact, does add the "more-ish" type of flavor that is ascribed to umami foods. Foods like mushrooms
are high in glutamate, and therefore taste more "umami". Pass the Parmesan cheese, please.