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WANT TO MAKE THE BEST-TASTING FOOD EVER? JUST ADD A LITTLE UMAMI.

    What do some of the best cooks in America know about fabulous-tasting food that most people donít? They know about umami Ė that rich, savory, satisfying taste you get from ripe tomatoes, parmesan cheese, oysters, aged beef, shiitake mushrooms, Asian fish sauce, and many other everyday and exotic foods. For cooks in the know, a key to creating exceptionally delicious dishes is knowing which foods have umami and how to cook for maximum umami taste. These and other umami cooking secrets are revealed in David and Anna Kasabianís new book The Fifth Taste: Cooking with Umami.

     What exactly is umami? Itís another basic taste, like sweet, sour, salty and bitter, all of which we pick up on the taste buds in our mouths. Although subtler than the other tastes, umami (say oo-MOM-ee) is exceptionally satisfying by itself, and greatly enhances our enjoyment of many other foods. In fact, itís one of the principal reasons we love chicken soup, cheeseburgers, tomato sauce, sour dough bread, and many other favorites.

    People have enjoyed umami since the dawn of mankind, but until recently few people knew it existed, let alone what to call it. Then in 1906, a Japanese chemist identified the first of many substances that create this elusive taste, named it umami, and helped establish umami as a cornerstone of Asian cuisine. Yet it wasnít until 2001, when American scientists finally proved beyond a doubt that umami is distinct taste, that umami really caught on with Western cooks who began consciously using and combining umami ingredients to create richer, more delicious, more satisfying food.

    The Fifth Taste: Cooking with Umami simplifies the fascinating science of umami, explains why we crave it, tells you where to find it, and shows you how to cook and combine umami-rich foods for maximum umami impact.

 
 
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