Monday, August 21, 2006

Nation's Restaurant News in the 21st Century!

You can download NRN's podcasts here.
The site's still in the beta phase and your comments are welcome.


Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia:
Savouriness is the name for the taste sensation produced by the free glutamates commonly found in fermented and aged foods. In English, it is sometimes referred to as "meaty" or "moreish"; "savoury" (US: "savory"), is not to be confused with the herb known as savory. In the Japanese, the term umami is used for this taste sensation, whose characters literally mean "delicious flavour." Umami is now the commonly used term by taste scientists. The same taste is referred to as xiānwèi (鮮味 or 鲜味) in Chinese cooking. Savoury is considered a fundamental taste in Japanese and Chinese cooking, but is not discussed as much in Western cuisine.

Examples of food containing these free glutamates (and thus strong in the savoury taste) are parmesan and roquefort cheese as well as soy sauce and fish sauce. It is also found in significant amounts in various unfermented foods such as walnuts, grapes, broccoli, tomatoes, and mushrooms, and to a lesser degree in meat. The glutamate taste sensation is most intense in combination with sodium. This is one reason why tomatoes exhibit a stronger taste after adding salt. Sauces with savoury and salty tastes are very popular for cooking, such as tomato sauces and ketchup for Western cuisines and soy sauce and fish sauce for East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. Since not every glutamate produces a savoury-like taste sensation, there is continuing investigation into the exact mechanism of how the savoury taste sensation is produced.

The additive monosodium glutamate (MSG), which was developed as a food additive in 1907 by Kikunae Ikeda, produces a strong savoury taste. Savoury is also provided by the nucleotides disodium 5’-inosine monophosphate (IMP) and disodium 5’-guanosine monophosphate (GMP). These are naturally present in many protein-rich foods. IMP is present in high concentrations in many foods, including dried skipjack tuna flakes used to make dashi, a Japanese broth. GMP is present in high concentration in dried shiitake mushrooms, used in much of the cuisine of Asia. There is a synergistic effect between MSG, IMP and GMP which together in certain ratios produce a strong umami taste.

A subset of savoury taste buds responds specifically to glutamate in the same way that sweet ones respond to sugar. Glutamate binds to a variant of G protein coupled glutamate receptors [1].


btw, mmmm.... I like meat.


Bret Thorn said...

Hmm. When I asked for comments I was thinking more along the lines of "You sound stupid," or "Don't introduce yourself, get an announcer to do it!" or "Way to swallow initial consonants."
But Wikipedia entries and praise of meat are nice, too.
I'm intrigued by the spelling of "savoury" in that entry. Clearly it wasn't written by an American, and yet non-North Americans tend to use "savoury" as the opposite of "sweet," a fact that's missing from the entry.
It must have been written by a Canadian.