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Oct 13, 2009 07:46 AM


My question here is, how objective is the taste of savoriness, or umami? It's curious to me because the other main tastes seem objective. Most people can tell when one dish is saltier or sweeter, or whatever than another, and agree. But do people usually agree on the level of savoriness?

If you look at wikipedia, and also read certain articles by food writers like Jefferey Steingarten, you see that the science of umami is still developing, but they are able to measure it. That would make it objective, no?

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  1. I would agree that it is objective, but we might need to redefine what we think of as taste. In Japan scientists now believe in a sixth taste as well, and Ajinomoto - the firm behind MSG - is now marketing a product to highlight this, too.

    1. Savory just means not sweet. I don't think there are degrees of not sweet. Umami would be a subset under savory in my organizational set. In that subset consider the mushroom. Some are stronger flavored than others. More umami, or are there other flavor factors to consider, as well?

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      1. re: jmnewel

        Do you think there isn't degrees of umami though? It seems to make sense to me that we should be able to detect degrees of umami just like the other major tastes.