Tuesday, June 21, 2011


In trying to figure out what this week's newsletter would be, my roommate mentioned 'umami'.  I thought what a brilliant idea!!!  Perhaps you are agreeing.  Perhaps you are thinking huh???

Umami is the Japanese word for delicious or savory.  It is essentially the fifth 'primary' taste. I learned of sweet, sour, salty and bitter back in the days of elementary school.  Studies in the late 1800's - early 1900's by French chef Auguste Escoffier and Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University document the savory "taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate which occur naturally in many foods."[1]  By the 1980's with additional studies being performed, umami gained status as a fifth 'primary' taste which helps signify the presence of proteins in the food you are eating.

Some specific sources for that fifth taste - umami for vegetarians would be
  • Seaweed & kelp 
  • Tomatoes, carrots, Chinese cabbage, asparagus 
    Cabrales Cheese
    Cabrales Cheese
  • Mushrooms: Shitake, Enokaitake, Truffles
  • Soy beans
  • Potatoes & sweet potatoes
  • Cheese: Parmesan, Emmental, Cabrales
  • Green tea
  • Soy sauce
I encourage the sensuality of food.  It is not only in the taste that we enjoy what we consume.  It is a sensual experience.  Below is a diagram exemplifying the way we enjoy what we eat.   
How we enjoy food
How we enjoy food. [1]
That's Vegetarian's Creamy Polenta with Creamy Polenta with Caramelized Fennel and Onions with Balsamic Mushrooms is quite savory (or umami) as well as the Cream of Tomato Soup

Remember to sign up on Facebook , Twitter, YouTube and subscribe to this blog.  Currently, we are pairing each That's Vegetarian recipe with wines from the BevMo 5 Cent Sale.  It makes sense for those of us in California and parts of Arizona.  For my Buffalo peeps, I could do the same when Premier is having their sale.  Let me know when "that" store in your neck of the woods has their wine sale and Sherrie Smith, TVeg's Official Sommelier, and I can pair those wines for you with our recipes. 

Go to That's Vegetarian and watch one (or all) of the recipe videos, print the recipe(s), and prepare any one of the dishes.  You'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!"

[1] Umami Info

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