Transcript Umami

In Defense
of Food
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preparing fried hand
food in culture
Umami is one of the proposed five basic tastes sensed by
specialized receptor cells present on the human tongue.
Umami is a Japanese word meaning "savory" or
"deliciousness" and thus applies to the sensation of
savoriness, specifically to the detection of the natural amino
acid, glutamic acid, or glutamates common in meats, cheese
and other protein-heavy foods. The action of umami receptors
explains why foods treated with monosodium glutamate (MSG)
often taste "heartier".
Glutamate has a long history in cooking, appearing in Asian
foods such as soy sauce and fish sauce; in Italian food in
Parmesan cheese and anchovies. It is the taste of Marmite in
the UK, of Golden Mountain sauce in Thailand, of Maggi Sauce
worldwide, of Goya Sazón on the Latin islands of the
Caribbean, of Salsa Lizano in Costa Rica and of Kewpie
mayonnaise in Japan.
from Wikipedia, 2008
Fine wine – what a scam
At the 28th Annual International Eastern Wine
Competition, Charles Shaw's 2002 Shiraz
received the double gold medal, besting the
roughly 2,300 other wines in the competition.
Shaw's 2005 California chardonnay was judged
Best Chardonnay from California at the
Commercial Wine Competition of the 2007
California Exposition and State Fair. The
chardonnay received 98 points, a double gold,
with accolades of Best of California and Best of
Fine wine – what a scam
In 2001, Frederic Brochet, of the University of
Bordeaux, conducted two separate and very
mischievous experiments. In the first test, Brochet
invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give
their impressions of what looked like two glasses
of red and white wine. The wines were actually
the same white wine, one of which had been
tinted red with food coloring. But that didn't stop
the experts from describing the "red" wine in
language typically used to describe red wines.
One expert praised its "jamminess," while another
enjoyed its "crushed red fruit." Not a single one
noticed it was actually a white wine.
Fine wine – what a scam
The second test Brochet conducted was even
more damning. He took a middling Bordeaux and
served it in two different bottles. One bottle was a
fancy grand-cru. The other bottle was an ordinary
vin du table. Despite the fact that they were
actually being served the exact same wine, the
experts gave the differently labeled bottles nearly
opposite ratings. The grand cru was "agreeable,
woody, complex, balanced and rounded," while
the vin du table was "weak, short, light, flat and
faulty". Forty experts said the wine with the fancy
label was worth drinking, while only 12 said the
cheap wine was.
Fine wine – a defense
What these experiments neatly demonstrate is
that the taste of a wine, like the taste of
everything, is not merely the sum of our inputs,
and cannot be solved in a bottom-up fashion. It
cannot be deduced by beginning with our
simplest sensations and extrapolating upwards.
When we taste a wine, we aren't simply tasting
the wine. This is because what we experience is
not what we sense. Rather, experience is what
happens when our senses are interpreted by our
subjective brain, which brings to the moment its
entire library of personal memories and
idiosyncratic desires. Jonah Lehrer
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Chocolate tasting
In-class writing activity!!!!
Chocolate tasting
Appearance (glossy, matte, etc.)
For each
Taste (PATIENCE – melt more than chew)
Evolution of flavor (speed?)
Chocolate tasting
Compare them
Are they different?
Can you describe the difference?
Do you have a preference?