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.
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