From Publishers Weekly
Japanese chefs speak of a mysterious "fifth taste," one which is beyond and complementary to the known four (sweet, sour, salty and bitter). A few examples are the savory, pungent, meaty quality found in foods such as soy sauce, Parmesan cheese, red wine, mushrooms, truffles and oysters. In this book, a married couple (he's a chef; she's an author) explain and explore umami
for Western audiences. They begin with an authoritative (if dry) scientific breakdown of umami
-causing amino acids and nucleotides, and a lesson on how they react with certain taste buds in our mouths. This is followed by recipes for the authors' own "everyday" dishes using umami
-full ingredients (helpfully printed in boldface). Their Asparagus Frittata, "Ragumami" Tomato and Two Meat Sauce and the like are fine, but the real meat of the book comes in the more than 60 delectable, umami
-loaded recipes from top American chefs. Mouths will water over Rick Bayless's Spicy Chipotle Pork Tacos with Sun-Dried Tomato Salsa, Nobu Matsuhisa's Cilantro Soup with Monkfish, and Jody Adams's Braised Duck Legs with Mushrooms and Caper-Vinegar Sauce. Comprehensive recipes and pictures of scrumptious-looking food add to the book's appeal. (Dec.)
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About the Author
Anna and David Kasabian are a husband-and-wife team who specialize in all things culinary. The author of nine books, Anna Kasabian has written for Country Living, Cook's Illustrated, Yankee Magazine, Coastal Living, and the Boston Globe. An honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, David Kasabian is a professional chef, food writer, and food photographer.