Monday, December 10, 2007

Umami nation

Just a follow-up post to the umami development. The good: chefs are experimenting with new ways to stimulate and satisfy our umami receptors with naturally umami-heavy ingredients such as parmesan, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, calling them "umami bombs." The bad: the packaged food industry is catching onto this, and of course the FDA allows them to get away with conveniently tucking artificial umami under the general category of "artificial flavors."

"So far, Senomyx has identified four new umami ingredients that can often be used in small enough amounts to be listed on a food label simply as "artificial flavors." This is a boon to food companies because it eliminates the need to add an unfamiliar, chemical-sounding word to an ingredient list."

Evil. It's frightening to think what will happen to the American waistline once artificial umami joins forces with corn byproducts in a bag of "natural" potato chips.