The tale of taste

The taste is one thing that unites us. If you think about the nation which cannot find a single language, religion or customs to represent everyone, but it  will always can be defined by the taste. It does not mean that I am undermining the culinary diversity of the country, which in fact is as diverse as it gets- but still there flavors in our cuisine which we are proudly say as our own. No food in the sub-continent is complete without the generous flirtation chillis, garlic, cumin or mustard seeds. Coriander powder is absolute necessity and we all take pride in adding shades of saffron, lemons, cloves and cinnamon to our curries. Dairy products are absolutely consistent throughout the region and so is the love of chai.

Pav Bhaji- the perfect marriage of the bread, butter, spices and Vegetables
The taste has helped humans to feed themselves what their body demanded. We all have craving for sweets but in evolutionary terms when human bodies were under developed and required more glucose and fats , our taste buds started identifying the sweet taste and this has still stuck with us even though our need of glucose is somewhat taken care of. Similarly when our body demanded more protein, humans started craving for more complex taste that is called  Umami.

Minestrone Soup is loaded with Umami- Photo courtesy- The Food Network
Though Umami existed for years but it was only in the start of 20th Century it was officially discovered and coined by the Japanese Chemist Kikunae Ikeda. Umami is the savory taste of protein, meat, mushrooms, soy sauce and vegetables which when cooked in right temperature, they release the acids that creates the smell that we can’t resist. It contains the flavor of all the other basic tastes like sourness, sweetness, bitterness and saltiness. The smell that you can identify when you are crossing a street across a summer barbecue,or from a slow cooked broth or from something as regular as a bottle of ketchup that makes hot french fries an irresistible delight.

Taste can invoke memories, can unite people, can make strangers friends. It can comfort you when you are sad, it can energize you when your spirit needs a lift. We all need food to survive this world but the taste to live it.

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2 thoughts on “The tale of taste

  1. Oh, I love Pav Bhaji. I first tasted it from the lunch box of a dear friend. My friend being North Indian it was normal for her to get Pav Bhaji for lunch, but for me it was very different and unique dish. The first taste of it made me fall in love with Pav bhaji 🙂 This post indeed brought back many sweet memories!

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