Broadcast Transcript: The four basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour and bitter were good enough for Democritus, Plato and Aristotle but not, apparently, for Escoffier in France or Kikunae Ikeda in Japan. Ikeda was a chemist who identified a fifth flavor found in kombu, a kind of seaweed, and which he called umami which is Japanese for "yummy." But scientists scoffed: this fifth flavor, they said, didn't exist; it was all in people's heads. Ikeda proved them wrong. Through chemical analysis, Ikeda discovered glutamic acid. He then went on to patent monosodium glutamate to give non-umami foods the umami mojo. But it also gave headaches. And so, ironically, Ikeda ushered in the era of asking it to be left out of food altogether. Umami mia! #ceas #hacker #japan
This is one of hundreds of 60-second radio spots created by the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) for Kansas Public Radio (KPR). The purpose of this outreach program is to introduce the people of Kansas to the culture and current issues of East Asia.
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