All posts tagged: Tastes

TASTES

There are four basic tastes – salty, sweet, sour and bitter. Many scientieist and modern food writers now add a fifth flavour – umami.  The word derives from the Japanese “umai” meaning “tasty” but in many respects umami is either an oxymoron “tasty-taste” (surely not!)  or unhelpful, “delicious” taste? Deliciousness is not just the reserve of this new taste – sweet, sour and bitter dishes, afterall, can be equally delicious. Savoury would be a better translation of what scientists (and as we shall see later industry) are trying to persuade us is the fifth taste. Savoury is a word well understood by everyone in the English speaking world and in most people’s mind savoury is deemed a salty taste not a separate taste – and for good reason. Savoury dishes can not exist without salt and salt on it’s own requires a savoury flavour to be palatable. Indeed, the on-line Oxford English Dictionary states that “savoury” “belongs to a category which is salty or spicy rather than sweet.” Thus for linguistic, as opposed to scientific …

FLAVOURS

Unlike the four basic tastes the number of flavours individuals are able to sense and taste are as numerous as the melodies on a Steinberg grand piano. The key distinguishing feature between taste and flavour is that the four basic tastes can still be identified by an eater pinching their nose. Flavours are totally dependant on olfactory air flow. No air flow – no flavour. Those suffering from a bad cold and bunged-up nose will become aware of the texture of food, they will probably be able to discern sweetness, sourness, saltiness and bitterness but miss out entirely on the more subtle, pleasurable and delightful flavours present in the dish. Just another reason to dislike the common cold! It is worth spending some time considering how food adds taste and flavour to our dishes. The flavouring of a dish, after all, begins and ends with our choice of ingredients. The success of a dish begins and ends with how it will taste. de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum, tastes and colours are not open for …