A LESSON IN CREAMY
Hey, I find it strange that so-called food scientists have isolated a taste sensation in soy sauce or shoyu called umami. I have yet to experience it. Maybe my buds are lacking those needed for that discernment. If not lacking, I can’t find anything, in my global-sensitive buds, resembling anything that I would interpret as a profound palatable experience upon consuming soy sauce. Swishing, gurgling, whistling, tried it all and I got nothing.
Until…I combined soy sauce with a creamy agent. The cream in the sauce screamed eureka! when the umami opened for the first time on my taste bud radar in the presence of soy sauce.
I’m wondering if it isn’t the dried fish or other animal additions to most Asian dishes that give those dishes an animal taste – but frankly wouldn’t it do the same with or without the soy sauce?
Tomato – also called a umami food, but usually found in the presence of cheese or other animal components.
Mushrooms? Same thing – always mixed with animal ingredients to enhance the animal flavor.
So for me it happened with a non-animal cream. Better now than never.
The most potent umami food on the planet barring animals – when you define umami as animal-like or enhancing the animal flavor and not simply savory (which by definition connotes an herbal necessity, which soy sauce lacks) is Kalamata olive and anything coming from it.
It is the meat. It is the lamb. It is anything you want it to be with the proper seasonings and additives.
Extra virgin olive oil is many times used by this chef as an animal alternative – no matter the dish presented. It has always been about the fat, or on a coarse piece of animal the gravy, which traditionally has been mostly fat.
If indeed soy sauce alone possesses all the necessary components to be called umami, then this cream sauce augments the umami sufficiently so that my umami-designated buds can discern it. Interestingly, soy has become one of the world’s foremost go-to foods for animal-replacement therapy.
So, in my view, umami-designated taste buds or combination of buds discern the animal taste, no matter the part of the animal. It is those buds that were meant to preserve all species from being eaten, so that when we discerned an animal on our bud-palate, we would instinctively spit it out. Over time as humans became accustomed to eating that which they were designed to reject, the body assimilated, adjusted, turned a blind eye to the existence of another being in its organism – not without its costs though.
Like the heroin addict’s body that adjusts to heroin to keep the body balanced, in the end the heroin which is supposed to be rejected – and always is initially – wins by destroying the human who indulges in it.
Cigarette smoke acts the same way. Initially our body rejects it, but we keep going back for more, till our body adjusts to it, causing symptoms of withdrawal when the cigarette smoke is blocked from entering the organism. The same is so with alcohol. And coffee and other drugs and substances.
If you cook a mushroom just long enough, it will resemble in texture the mucous membrane, connective tissue, collagen, fat of the animal. A raw mushroom does nothing to excite that resemblance to an animal. Only when cooked does that happen.
Tomatoes. That’s a tough one. Looking for umami and the animal-like component. And maybe that’s it right there. It’s tough. Look at a whole dried tomato, open it, pull it apart, stretch it, yeah, I get the feel and the optics before it even reaches my mouth. The chew is there. Raw tomatoes don’t do that – not for me. Not yet.
Sesame? Sesame oil, not the seeds. Some seeds just texture too much like sand, but squeeze the oil out of them and it’s a whole new day.
One might think that these plant foods were predetermined to satisfy in the human and other animals the desire for eating each other. There had to be a genetically determined way to cause an animal to seek out certain foods, but also to block certain actions taken against other species vying for the same space on the planet. You can’t eat all of your enemies.
It’s all about umami and it’s all in the buds. Chew it and spit it out or chew it and swallow it.
If it can’t get past your nose it can’t get to your palate. There are lots of contradictions in nature that prove that rule of thumb wrong: Limburger cheese, beer cheese, many cheeses, bread fruit, cooked crucifers, hard-boiled eggs, chitterlings, collard greens, caviar, sardines etc.
So why do we eat something our senses tell us to reject? Because we don’t trust our senses under all circumstances, because we see others do it, because we like breaking our own genetically determined rules for survival, because we like to tempt fate, because it feels good, even though the consequences are bad – but mostly bad long-term. It’s the short-term enjoyment, pleasure, adventure, risk-taking that exhilarates us. That’s how we read it > exhilaration, instead of fear. So there’s a trip-wire someplace that misguides us to think fun instead of fear.
[You could beat your wife with a stick no thicker than your thumb, but most people don’t make that connection any more. I didn’t. I had to look it up. I thought is was more like a measurement, thumb to eye, however that goes as your thumb moves further away, what does the artist see?]
Glutamate is the most prominent neurotransmitter in the human body/brain. An excess of glutamate has been linked to numerous neurological-based diseases and disorders. Glutamate is most prominently found in animals, but also exists in plant-life.
In humans, it is the main excitatory neurotransmitter, being present in over 50% of nervous tissue….
…Overstimulation of glutamate receptors causes neurodegeneration and neuronal damage through a process called excitotoxicity. Excessive glutamate, or excitotoxins acting on the same glutamate receptors, overactivate glutamate receptors (specifically NMDARs), causing high levels of calcium ions (Ca2+) to influx into the postsynaptic cell.
High Ca2+ concentrations activate a cascade of cell degradation processes involving proteases, lipases, nitric oxide synthase, and a number of enzymes that damage cell structures often to the point of cell death. Ingestion of or exposure to excitotoxins that act on glutamate receptors can induce excitotoxicity and cause toxic effects on the central nervous system. This becomes a problem for cells, as it feeds into a cycle of positive feedback cell death.
Glutamate excitotoxicity triggered by overstimulation of glutamate receptors also contributes to intracellular oxidative stress. Proximal glial cells use a cystine/glutamate antiporter (xCT) to transport cystine into the cell and glutamate out. Excessive extracellular glutamate concentrations reverse xCT, so glial cells no longer have enough cystine to synthesize glutathione (GSH), an antioxidant. Lack of GSH leads to more reactive oxygen species (ROSs) that damage and kill the glial cell, which then cannot reuptake and process extracellular glutamate. This is another positive feedback in glutamate excitotoxicity. In addition, increased Ca2+ concentrations activate nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and the over-synthesis of nitric oxide(NO). High NO concentration damages mitochondria, leading to more energy depletion, and adds oxidative stress to the neuron as NO is a ROS.”…
…Further, glutamate occupies a central position in amino acid metabolism in plants.”
Glutatamate is an amino acid associated with proteins – animal or plant. In fact, the existence of glutamate in animals and plants is pervasive. Since eating plants has not been associated with neurological diseases and disorders, it might be wise to reduce the amount of glutamate ingested by reducing significantly or totally the amount of animal products ingested.
You can still have your umami and eat it too – only through plants, would be the correct survival advantage choice to make, not through animals.