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jdporter (36)

Journal of jdporter (36)

Friday October 18, 2002
09:47 AM

Senses working overtime

[ #8446 ]

Quick -- how many different kinds of things can we taste?

If you said zillions, think again.

If you said four, then huzzah for remembering what we all learned in kindergarten.

What are they?

Sweet, sour, salty, bitter.

Well, it turns out that there is actually a fifth. It is sometimes described as "savory", "meaty", or "pungent", but the Japanese have a word for it: umami. And chemically it is the sensitivity to glutamic acid and its salts, the glutamates. Glutamic acid is one of the amino acids, found in abundance in protein.

Here's a nice Google search that should turn up more info on the subject.

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  • You missed out 'hot', the chilli taste.
    • You missed out 'hot', the chilli taste.

      Hmm. I dunno. Do we actually have taste buds (i.e. specialized chemical receptors) for capsaicin? I don't think so. I think it affects all kinds of nerves, in all kinds of tissue. If you can point me to research that supports your claim, I'd be much obliged.

      (Mmmmmmmmm... scorching hot red curry.....)