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Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste

Ole Mouritsen and Klavs Styrbæk


In the West, we have identified only four basic tastes—sour, sweet, salty, and bitter—that, through skillful combination and technique, create delicious foods. Yet in many parts of East Asia over the past century, an additional flavor has entered the culinary lexicon: umami, a fifth taste impression that is savory, complex, and wholly distinct. Combining culinary history with research into the chemistry, preparation, nutrition, and culture of food, this book encapsulates what we know to date about the concept of umami, from ancient times to today. Umami can be found in soup stocks, meat dishes ... More

Keywords: sour, sweet, bitter, salty, umami, culinary history, soup, meat, human taste, food choices

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780231168908
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231168908.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ole Mouritsen, author

Klavs Styrbæk, author