Taste is the sensation that helps us identify and recognize a specific food item. The taste buds on our tongue respond to different tastes differently, helping us identify and differentiate between different food items. Thus, every taste has a specific response to specific foods.
Even so, we sometimes don’t feel about eating even a spoonful of our regular meals. So, what could be done to enhance the food taste?
Why Taste Matters?
The sense of taste is the sensory system that is partially responsible for the perception of taste. Taste is the sensation produced or stimulated when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with taste receptors located on taste buds on the tongue.
The ability to taste the food has much more important significance than just identifying food items and appreciating different flavors.
Let’s take a few examples to understand why “taste” matters;
for instance, children are the hardest to handle when it comes to feeding them proper nutrition. The reason is simple, the “taste”.
Nutritious foods like broccoli, a great source of essential amino acids and proteins, are the most children repelling foods of all time. Take my example, me, yes, as a child; I used to run away just by the sight of broccoli. But see me now, sometimes I crave for it like anything. How did it happen? Keeping reading
So, the reason for such hatred for broccoli is its bitter taste. As a child, no one cares for nutrition anyways!
Another example is older people. With a large intake of medications and ageing symptoms, older adults lose their taste sensations and gradually start eating less food. This harms their appetite and further deteriorates their health.
Looking at the above examples, you must’ve gotten a glimpse of why taste matters so much for us. So, what should be done? The answer is in the next session
What Difference is Will Enhancing the Taste Make?
We are continuing the above two examples, the children and the older people, though for different reasons, prefer “taste” over “nutrition,” which is obvious.
Leafy vegetables, meats, dairy products, and fruits, though they are extremely great sources of vitamins, proteins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, aren’t consumed regularly.
Usually, our staple diet or regular homemade food is more of nutritional value than taste. This is the reason why enhancing the taste of your regular food will make a difference.
How to Enhance the Taste of Your Regular Food?
There are five different tastes recognized to date, Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty, and Umami. Every taste plays a significant role in making our food taste better. Out of which the first four tastes are the regular ones, which, though they have their significant roles, are part of the daily foods that taste regular.
But, with umami, it all changes. Umami flavor, in addition to kokumi sensation, plays a key role in enhance the taste of your regular food.
What Is the Significance of Umami and Kokumi In Enhancing Taste?
The “umami” taste is the flavor of meat broth. It is the savory, meaty taste that the food gives out. It is generally activated by glutamate amino acid, a part of different proteins found in food. The taste receptors present on our taste buds respond to these glutamates, due to which we can taste umami.
Aged tomato, meat, aged cheeses, especially parmesan cheese, green tea, cheddar all contain a great deal of glutamate amino acid and thus are wonderful sources of umami flavors.
This umami flavor is the reason for the foods mentioned above taste so better.
Did you ever notice the long after-taste that a ripened tomato gives? It’s tangy and irresistible. It stimulates the taste buds to make the food taste much better than earlier. Likewise, aged cheese gives this unique earthy taste to the food, making you crave even more for another bite.
The presence of umami is considered a sign of proteins and amino acids being present in the foods.
If you add a pinch of monosodium glutamate MSG (it is the sodium salt of glutamate amino acid) to your sauce preparation, trust me, you will never forget the tastes it releases out.
Glutamates are easily found in different foods like soy products, milk, meats, aged cheese, tomatoes, potatoes, legumes, and much more.
Considering the older adults’ above example, if you add a pinch of monosodium glutamate MSG to their regular food, the food taste will get enhanced. It will get much better for the old folks to enjoy it. This will stimulate their taste buds. Thus, their food intake will increase, their appetite will be normalized, their digestion will be improved, their metabolism levels will be triggered. All this will make them get back their taste sensations, resulting in good health.
Kokumi is the sensation that develops within a few substances. It is not a taste on its own like umami, but it is a flavor that develops among the kokumi substances that give out this “rich taste” to your dish. More than a flavor, it is a flavor enhancer or, as you may call, a taste modifier.
Kokumi substances enhance the flavors of other recognized tastes like umami and sweetness. These are the substances that enhance the dish’s overall flavor through the specific taste receptors that they respond with.
Kokumi substances are those substances that are detected through the calcium channels that are found on your tongue.
Usually, the taste sensation develops within a food substance that has been kept aside for a long time or those substances that are well-aged.
They are known to add richness and deliciousness to regular food and make the food sensation much better.
Cheese, Beer, Yeast, Scallops, Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce, Shrimp Paste, Aged wine are few kokumi substances used in soup stocks and processed foods, low-fat custards, salad dressings, and much more such products.
Remember, I mentioned how I never liked broccoli during my childhood, but now I crave it. So, one fine day, my mother cooked this incredibly delicious broccoli dish for me.
It was “Magic Broccoli”. She roasted broccoli with crispy golden edges, seasoned with some lightly showered lemon juice and lots of parmesan cheese.
That was the best broccoli I had ever tasted till then. It was perfectly crispy, and the umami taste that came from both the broccoli and parmesan cheese made it irresistibly amazing…
And then me and my magic broccoli lived happily ever after…
That’s my story… what about you?