Weekly Word: Umami

So, you might’ve seen one of those commercials… You know, the Kikkoman commercials with all the fancy food photography that always seems to be on just before dinner time. (I wonder why. :roll: )


Umami is more than just an advertising gimmick, though. Apparently it’s the fifth taste, along with saltiness, sourness, bitterness, and sweetness. And what is umami? Like the commercial says, it means “delicious”. Basically, the fifth taste is savoriness; for example, it’s present in meats, cheese, and yes, MSG. That’s because the taste of umami comes from glutamic acid.

Kikunae Ikeda, a Japanese chemistry professor, discovered umami (and named it so) in 1908, and then he got a patent on the manufacturing of MSG. Yummy! The Japan Patent Office lists him as one of the ten great Japanese inventors.