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April 2011 Issue

Appreciating Umami, a Satisfying Taste Sense-ation

Unless youíre a foodie or food scientist, umami might sound more like a Japanese delicacy than a scientific term. Named for the two Japanese words for "essence" and "delicious," umami represents the fifth basic taste element; the others are sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Umamiís taste is often described as savory, yet no single word does it justice.

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