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Apr 5, 2013 11:13 AM

In Pursuit of Umami

I was told umami means delicious or yummy in Japanese. This word has always fascinated me, so ephemeral & elusive, not just a yummy or delicious sensation, by any means.

How have you captured umami lately?

Was it a fresh herb that exploded with flavor in a simple sauce?

Was it the experience of watching someone as they ate your meal with serious pleasure on their face?

Was it a new recipe that called for ingredients you had never cooked with & found that you wanted to eat that food for the rest of your life?

Was it reading a cookbook & mentally tasting the recipes & experiencing the rituals of bringing that recipe to life in your kitchen?

Won't you join in & tell us exactly what umami means to you?

Can't help saying this - have you had your umami today??

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  1. I understand umami to be one of the tastes, like sour or sweet or bitter.

    My recent umami has been in the form of olives. I want them in everything all the time.

    1. Umami is savory, like sautéed mushrooms over a perfectly grilled steak, or, dare I say it? anything with MSG. I also think of miso soup and omelets with cheese, for some reason, or those yummy little fish cakes they serve in Korean restaurants.

      1. Umami is savory.

        Like great aged cheese.

        1. Umami is the type of savoriness that fills your mouth and coats your tongue. It's anchovies dissolved in tomato sauce. It's butter with a touch of marmite. It's the crackle of a crumbly old parmesan and the satisfactory tang of ketchup on a hot dog. If you've ever tasted a dish and thought "Hmm, it tastes good but it's missing something," that empty space is waiting to be filled with umami.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JungMann


            When you look up "umami" in the dictionary you find a picture of a little jar of marmite!

          2. Umami to me is a salty meatiness. It's the best way I can describe it. Or maybe a salty roundness?
            The most umami things in my diet are Maggi seasoning sauce and fish sauce. I also get it a lot from parmesan cheese, and I do use msg in some of my cooking because it doesn't cause me any problems. It really adds a "something".