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No translation?[edit]

"umami has no translation"

But the lead paragraph mentions its translation ("savoriness").

In fact, why isn't the main title of this English Wikipedia page "Savoriness"? (talk) 21:51, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

“Savoriness” is an attempt to translate “umami”. It’s not a good translation. The meaning of “savory” is much broader than “umami” and in general is not used synonymously. Strebe (talk) 17:06, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Then why do all references to savory redirect to this page? Also why, if savory is the broader - and roughly 700 years older - term, is it being redirected to a more specific subcategory of itself?

The definition of umami sounds like someone reinvented wheel, only 30% smaller. With an "untranslatable" Japanese name. This page should be rewritten, with umami itself being a part of an article about savory. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:49, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

“Then why do all references to savory redirect to this page?”
• What are all these references?
I was directed here from Sweetbread. I think I ended up here from an article about yeast extracts (Marmite, Vegemite), as well. This umami business sounds pretentious!giggle 16:47, 19 March 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Then I suggest you eliminate the link to “savory” in the Sweetbread article. It does not sound appropriate. Strebe (talk) 17:38, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
“Also why, if savory is the broader - and roughly 700 years older - term, is it being redirected to a more specific subcategory of itself?”
• Because “savoriness” outside the context of umami is not well defined and not an encyclopædic topic. People are unlikely to be looking for an article on the broader term “savoriness” just as they are unlikely to be looking for an article on “deliciousness”. Meanwhile because umami is often (unnecessarily) translated as “savoriness”, people looking for an article on savoriness are likely looking for umami.
The definition of umami sounds like someone reinvented wheel, only 30% smaller.
• No, the definition of umami sounds like someone got some science involved by discovering that there is a basic human taste receptor for umami, one of only five known basic receptors. There is no basic human taste receptor for the poorly defined “savoriness”.
“This page should be rewritten, with umami itself being a part of an article about savory.”
• There is nothing encyclopædic to be said about “savoriness”. Its dictionary definition suffices. Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Strebe (talk) 20:48, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Excellent question, which is exactly what brought me to the Talk page. I clicked on the link to "savory" from an article about sweetbread, and it brought me here...rather weasily, in my view. If I want to know about "umami", I would like to click on it from within the "savory" article. The lede question of this talk section has not been satisfactorily answered. If savory is a broad subject, then it is encyclopedic. If umami is synonymous with savory, then that should be stated in the article about savory.giggle 16:40, 19 March 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
“Weasily”? Why would you assume bad intent? Someone casually linked. Unlink it. Savory is not a “broad topic”; the word simply has a broader meaning than umami but is not encyclopædic because there is no substantial literature on the topic and it is not well defined. Umami is well defined and has a body of literature and scientific research. There is no article on “savory”.Strebe (talk) 17:38, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Umami is a marketing term and the actual closest english translation of the term is "good taste," not "savoriness." This article is full of factual errors and presents half-truths as fact.

If you have any specific changes you would like to suggest or if there are specific items you feel are half-truths it would be helpful if you noted them here. Deli nk (talk) 21:58, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Removing "metallic" as a taste[edit]

In the intro to the article, "metallic" is cited as a taste. I went through and fixed the citation only to discover that when I read it, the article actually describes metallic taste as being a consequence of the retronasal smell rather than taste. I do see another paper from at least some of the same authors here, but it's not clear at all that the literature favors metallic as a basic taste. I recommend removal.--0x0077BE (talk) 21:41, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

I agree. This “metallic” taste hasn’t been established well enough to note here. It might belong as a footnote on the page about taste in general, but no, not here. Strebe (talk) 05:32, 8 November 2012 (UTC)


Hello, I notice that Savouriness redirects here, but the article is apparently about only a subset of savoury tastes. I think it would be nice to say a little more about the superset and to clarify the difference between the two concepts with examples. Otherwise it looks a bit like redirecting colour to yellow. (talk) 11:45, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Have at it. You won’t find much literature on “savory” alone, though. Strebe (talk) 23:44, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure there's much to say, or at least not enough to make an article. There's already a disambiguation page which lists the definition of savory, i.e. wikt:savory, and I'm not sure there's much more to it than examples. Many of those examples already have articles (such as for many dishes), and being savory is something that connects them but I don't know there's much more to it than that.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 00:17, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough, but then shouldn't it be more correct to redirect savouriness to the disambig instead of here? (talk) 12:37, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it is more correct to redirect to “savory”. I’ll fix it. Strebe (talk) 18:33, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree with the lede complaint of this section. Especially when various food products like sweetbread and Marmite are described as savory, not umami.giggle 16:50, 19 March 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Added section for balance[edit]

I added the section "Concerns and controversies of MSG" for educational benefits but also to provide balance, as well as a neutral point of view, so the article doesn't appear to be an advertisement. I have some more to add but this is a start. Otr500 (talk) 17:20, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

This is extremely unbalanced. The article is not about MSG. There is nothing wrong with mentioning the MSG concern along with a link to the MSG page and section, but the new section here as it stands is completely disproportionate to the article's topic. I will delete it in its entirety if it does not get scaled down immediately to a single short paragraph. Strebe (talk) 21:34, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Your statement makes it appear that you own this article. You are an editor, unless you recently purchased Wikipedia (in which case you would certainly have dictator status) so your threats are not only out of line with all that Wikipedia stands for, it is offensive for you to demand (that you can dictate) that "a single short paragraph" is all that you will allow.
The article was unbalanced to the tune of an advertisement, and was so POV in one direction it made it sound like umami is manna from Heaven. I am very patient so you carry through with your threats and we can go to the community to see why you think you have ownership authority to make "or else threats" and certainly why you would state that one of a main trigger of "Umami", being MSG (according to the article as written and other sources), that has concerns from several groups, a split position among scientists, 51 meetings of JECFA, and the FDA, that is not only imparted by MSG but enhanced as well, is not important.
The second paragraph of the lead: "People taste umami through receptors for glutamate, commonly found in its salt form as the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG)." .
All of the vagueness of what umami is, all the verbiage that explains that the umami taste is "pleasant savory taste", "pleasant "brothy" or "meaty" taste with a long lasting, mouthwatering and coating sensation over the tongue", BUT is "difficult to describe", "is not palatable" by itself, and "is pleasant only within a relatively narrow concentration range", is because of "detection of the carboxylate anion of glutamate", which is? The first reference provides a definition of Umami, that is lacking in the article, "It is what gives depth of flavour to food".
There is also tagged information that I have not found any reference to corroborate such as; "There are some distinctions among stocks from different countries. Japanese dashi gives a very pure umami taste sensation because it is not based on mammal or poultry meats.". This is not referenced and appears as a veggie push. "...very pure umami taste"! Would that be the best of the best of the best umami taste?
Here is an interesting piece from the Journal of Chemical Education (Vol. 81 No. 3 March 2004- page 354) by George B. Kauffman, California State University:

MSG also has a strong synergistic effect with disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, which are found in meat, fish, vegetables, and mushrooms. These substances are almost tasteless in the absence of MSG, but addition of even a small quantity of MSG to food that contains these nucleotides produces an umami that is as much as six or eight fold greater than that to be expected from the quantity of MSG added. Not surprisingly, small quantities of the nucleotides have been added to MSG to create an enhanced source of umami.

The article is about a sense of taste (one of 5 basic tastes), now called umami. The article as now written propagates that this is because of "...glutamate, commonly found in its salt form" which is MSG. Every section either directly or indirectly refers to MSG. The section Properties of umami taste, states "Some population groups, such as the elderly, may benefit from umami taste because their taste and smell sensitivity is impaired by age and medicine". The reference title is "Can dietary supplementation of monosodium glutamate improve the health of the elderly?". The fact is that glutamate (found naturally in some foods) plays an important part in the sense of taste called umami. Particularly and importantly MSG play a critical role in umami and is added to many foods. There are concerns with MSG that is relevant to more than mentioning the MSG concern along with a link to the MSG page or a single short paragraph, for encyclopedic value concerning MSG and umami.
  • Reinstated because of rogue editor displaying absolute ownership of the article. And THEN-- to prove your point that I was suppose to be watching this article day and night-- and should have 'scaled down immediately --meaning RIGHT, this minute, not a second later, NOW because you own the article. REALLY!!!!!!! Otr500 (talk) 06:36, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
You and anyone have the same “rights” as I do, and you have exercised them. Now that you have reverted my edit, shall I rant exactly same things you did?
And THEN-- to prove your point that I was suppose to be watching this article day and night-- and should have scaled down immediately --meaning RIGHT, this minute, not a second later, NOW because you own the article. Sorry, but you edited this article well after my posting, so I’m afraid this exaggerated indignation appears to be blatant disingenuousness.
I do not defend the quality of the article. If you have complaints about the “advertising” nature of the verbiage, by all means improve it. But again, the article is about umami, not MSG, and your perversion of the article to proselytize the evils of MSG will be vigorously contested. Umami is not just about MSG. Contrary to your characterization, the text explicitly refers to L-glutamate, of which monosodium glutamate is but one salt of, inosinic acid, and guanosine. While MSG may be the most common additive to achieve the character of umami, the umami receptors act on a wider range of naturally occurring substances. It is those receptors and the sensation they produce that is the topic of the article, not MSG. Furthermore your extensive text duplicates the warnings already found in the MSG article as well as the Glutamic acid (flavor)#Safety as a flavor enhancer article. Duplications of material are frowned on. There’s a reason we have separate articles for separate topics. I have reverted your edit; I’ll request a page lock if you continue to resort to reversions rather than hashing it out here. Strebe (talk) 08:52, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Difficulty of Description[edit]

"Umami has a mild but lasting aftertaste that is difficult to describe." Is this sentence necessary? I can understand that being a loanword from Japanese, there's the sense that we are encountering something that is "new" and which we can "explain" (i.e. by previously known concepts), but there's nothing new in the perception of this taste, only in its naming. It's difficult to describe umami, but how do you describe salty? Or sweet? How do you describe red? Umami, just like all tastes or basic objects of perceptions, is beyond description. You can point towards it, describe when, where or how it is perceived, but you cannot describe it. I think it's an unnecessary sentence there. -- (talk) 17:28, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Genetics of ability to taste umami[edit]

Does anyone here have the expertise to add a section on genetic variation in the ability to taste umami? If not, I could probably do this; I'm a geneticist but of plants and fungi, not humans, but I should be able to understand the scientific papers on genetics of umami tasting. Declaration of personal interest: I think this section is significant because I'm a non-taster. Please post on my talk page if you think this is worthwhile. OldSpot61 (talk) 16:49, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Be bold! Strebe (talk) 22:03, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Foods rich in umami[edit]

You usually don't list food rich in saltiness/sweetness. Are you sure you are still talking about a taste rather than an ingredient? There should be a difference. -- (talk) 13:09, 24 May 2015 (UTC)