Debunking a Culinary Myth


We’re all familiar with the four tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, salty. We’ve tasted all of those at some point in our lives. Did you know, that scientists recently add a fifth taste? They did, and it’s called Umami.

Umami is Japanese in origin. As the story goes, a Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda discovered the taste in 1908 after eating a bowl of seaweed soup and thinking, “I taste a meaty flavor- yet there is no meat”. He then went to his lab and pinpointed the flavor, and produced it into a crystaline form, more commonly known as MSG.


The Myth

Someone along the line, mankind got into its head that MSG is bad. But it’s not. It’s found in very common food products that spout the Umami taste: mushrooms, tomatoes, seaweed, and parmesan to name a few. According to this article by NPR, “The general scientific consensus seems to be that on an empty stomach, and in very large quantities, there is a small subset of the population that shows real sensitivity to MSG,” Geiling says. (source: MSG: Seasoned for a Comeback)

Very few people are affected by it and you probably aren’t one of them. Fine culinary establishments have been pushing the umami flavor and it’s starting to become a culinary “fad”. Give your food something extra and slightly indescribable by adding the umami taste!





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