Thursday, June 10, 2010

According to some research there may be five rather than four taste receptors. The fifth is called umami that was first discovered by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda in Japan. While experimenting with kombu (seaweed) he found that it was high in glutamate. This lead to the creation of MSG (monosodium glutamate), which we all know as the addictive seasoning used in  fast food. Glutamate causes us to crave food and it is naturally found in meat, mushrooms, cheese, green tea, tomatoes, tofu, etc. Reducing a stock, aging cheese and meat, and cooking in general concentrates glutamate and makes the end product tastier. That's why a grilled portabello, is a delicious substitute for meat. Scientists also believe that umami was part of our evolution; it allows us to identify foods high in protein, which were necessary for our ancestors.


  1. No MSG in my dish! I hope your umami will enjoy this Greek food.

    This is my favorite dish, especially for breakfast. This is a meal that I enjoyed while staying in Greece for a long time.

    Chop fresh tomatoes and cucumbers in small squares. Slice thinly onion and peppers. Mix all veggies. Add pinch of salt, teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle all with wine vinegar and olive oil. Let it stay for a while for the ingredients to absorb the flavor. Add crumbled feta cheese and dress up with few green olives. At the end add little bit more olive oil. You can serve this salad with warm Greek pita bread and glass of white or rose wine.

    Bon Appetite!

  2. I make Greek salad frequently but I never add cucumbers. I will try it soon - it would make a great dish for the summer. I am planning on writing about Greek food soon, since it is also a part of my history (even though I was just a baby when we lived in Greece). The post will probably appear around the time of the Danforth festival. Have you been to it?