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The Fifth Taste: Cooking with Umami Hardcover – November 8, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Universe (November 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789313561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789313560
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #985,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By George Callandrillo on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are four basic tastes: Bitter, sweet, salty and sour. This book defines the fifth taste: Umami. In culinary school we learned about it as "savory". This book does a very good job of tracing Umami's history and current application. If you want better tasting food for a small investment in ingredients, buy this book. It relates to all levels of culinary/cooking skills.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Eric Roth on December 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've been spicing up my cooking with The Fifth Taste, and getting great results! These recipes are really fun and creative, and the variety is enhanced by many sources. It's like many cookbooks in one. The photos are also helpful in preparation. I've already learned a lot from this book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Owen M. on January 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a professional cook and avid reader of all things culinary, I can assure you that the Kasabians hit the nail on the head with this book. Yes, it contains terrific recipes from some of the USA's top chefs. And, yes, the Kasabians have kindly divulged some of their own mouth-watering recipes for us to sample. Best of all, though, they explain in detailed but easy to understand language just what the formerly mysterious term "umami" is all about and how everyone - chefs and home cooks alike - can put it to use making better tasting food in our own kitchens. Kudos David and Anna!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jazz Fan Tudie on January 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like the information provided, however, the average home cook can't afford items like lobster, scallops or truffles. So many of the recipes just wouldn't work for me. I guess I would have liked pairing ideas more than so many recipes. I think if I had realized that the info itself would only take up 10 pages out of 185 pages, I wouldn't have purchased the book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Pangakis on February 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My 12 year old son introduced me to this book! What a find! We enjoyed the "jelly bean" test to understand just what the "fifth taste" is. Vegetarian Muffaletta Roll-Ups is one of my favorites and my son (willing to chop and measure with zeal) loves the braised ribs and fish. We highly recommend this cook book!
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