The newest taste sensation, showing salty and sweet a thing or two, a culmination of WOW for your mouth...it's umami!
Thanks to Katie for enlightening me to this article.
Umami is my new favorite word. In Japanese, it literally means "deliciousness". Essentially, it is the savory goodness that we taste when we eat really spectacular foods. Like when you put fresh (real) parmesan cheese on pasta. Certain ingredients lend themselves to umami...like parmesan and sauted mushrooms. MSG has for a long time (despite its bad rap in the Western culture) been the all-powerful umami ingredient. MSG gives that binding flavor that polishes off a dish, it's the extra oomph that you can't necessarily explain. As a designer, I have learned that the unnoticed thing can be the most important thing to the design. The same theory can be applied to cooking. Adding salt (or some other ingredient) can make the difference between WOW and meh...but the taster may not be able to identify that salt was the determining ingredient.
I think I will begin to describe things as umami (or various forms of the word...like umamious). Most people, except my wonderful and devout readers, will have no idea what I am talking about. Perhaps it will catch on and will become super cool.
(when I started writing this blog this morning, it was totally going to take a culinary path...and well, now it is after lunch and I'm kinda all over the place...lots of editing has occurred since this morning).
The word umami reminds me of a great Friends episode where Ross practices unagi (martial arts super-awareness), but Rachel and Phoebe catch him completely off-guard by hiding in his apartment and shouting UNAGI when they jump out...haha, good times. but, i digress.
When I cook from now on, I will strive for umami. After reading the article I have an understanding of umami to be a savory collection of flavors that greatly compliment each other. In the article, umami is equated to an ingredient as imperative to sweetness as sugar or saltiness as salt.
I have so much I want to say, I can't even find the words. This blog has taken me about 6 hours (on-and-off) and I have made countless revisions...it's time to wrap things up, even though I feel this is so incomplete.