Umami—“the beautiful taste”
Do you know the word umami? I looked up the unfamiliar old Japanese word and found a 2010 blog post. Language, and its attempt at communication, is so beautiful, but I fear not evolving into something better. Enjoy the post, and no, umami is not a taste of nori.
An old word dusted off for a new age
As a bit of background, I first heard the word umami in a presentation on the quality of flatfish in the Bering Sea harvest by NOAA research scientist Dr. Diane Green. It had something to do with the quality of flavor as affected by how fish was handled during and after harvest.
I became intrigued, fascinated and then obsessed with learning more about this word, especially when everyone I asked, including Dr. Greene, had so much difficulty explaining it.
I began asking every Japanese person and anyone who spoke Japanese and was acquainted with the culture what his/her understanding of the word was. In Hawaii I had the unique opportunity to sit with a group of Japanese cooking teachers and culinary scholars in an impromptu round table discussion of the word. The discussion was fascinating but no consensus. Just about each…
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