Heloise explains ‘umami’ in food

Dear Readers: You know the simple tastes of sweet, sour, salty and bitter, but do you know the name of the fifth simple taste, that of broth and meatiness?

It’s called “umami,” which is Japanese for “pleasant and savory.” Surprisingly, the category of umami has only been officially recognized since 1985.

Foods that contain a lot of glutamate can be called umami: Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, chicken, beef and pork all can take on the rich flavor of umami. Check it out! — Heloise

A lick of sense

Dear Heloise: Please tell retail baggers to stop the unsanitary and unsavory practice of licking their fingers to open plastic bags. It is especially troublesome at grocery stores or food establishments.

They could instead use a small mist bottle, a damp sanitary wipe or some hand sanitizer to moisten their fingers. Or better yet, the company should offer paper or reusable bags. — Regular Reader in Texas

(Heloise is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. Send money-or time-saving hint to P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or E-Mail: Heloise@Heloise.com.)

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