Umami, the so-called ‘fifth taste’ (after sweet, sour, bitter, and salty) has fascinated chemists, chefs and foodies in recent years. Now you can get it in a tube right off the shelf in some British supermarkets.
Discovered more than a century ago by a Japanese scientist, umami has been described as that which gives depth of flavor to foods, or as the trigger for the sensation of deliciousness when detected by the brain. (Umami is the Japanese word for ‘taste.’) Back in 1908, Kikunae Ikeda identified umami as the savory flavor imparted by foods rich in chemicals including glutamate.
What’s more, there’s mounting scientific evidence that umami plays a key role in stimulating the digestive system.
Foods said to be rich in umami vary by region and culture. In Japan, it may be seaweed. In Italy, Parmesan cheese is a major umami food.
But now, as reported by Cahal Milmo writing for The Independent, the esoteric flavor can be purchased as a paste that comes in a tube under the name of ‘Taste No 5.’ It just arrived on the shelves in Waitrose grocery stores in Great Britain. No. 5 is a puree that contains pulped anchovy and porcini mushrooms. It was developed by Laura Santtini while she was running her family’s Italian restaurant in London.
We suppose it’s meant to be spread on crackers or served as a dip. Or as an ingredient to make just about any savory dish…more savory.
If this stuff ever makes it to the USA, it will probably need to taste like something like French Fries or pizza. Or potato chips.
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