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Category Archives: Umami

Improvisations on foo yung

Szechuan-style foo yung with yellow squash and store-bought pot stickers. The chickens are laying so well and I am so rich with eggs that I’ve been eating far too much egg foo yung — and, of course, running experiments. This is a post about Szechuan-style sauce. It’s also a post about MSG. First, about MSG. […]

Umami again: pasta (or rice) with seared cabbage

Like most photos on this blog, clicking on the image will bring up a higher-resolution version. Searing cabbage is an Asian touch, and it’s smart. Searing brings out the best flavors in cabbage. Nor do you have to scorch it. Cabbage browns easily with moderate heat and no smoking, as long as you use an […]

In search of umami, first follow-up

In my first post on umami, I mentioned that I would see if I could find some MSG at Whole Foods and also pick up some kombu seaweed, which is said to be high in umami. Whole Foods is just about as MSG free as it is possible to be. I asked a spice captain […]

In search of umami

Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland, where I’ve had some wonderful meals and long for more. As I recall, I encountered the idea of umami a few years ago, but I didn’t pay much attention because I assumed that it was not for real. But this week, while having an email conversation with a friend (thanks, Dean) […]


Only recently did I realize that miso is a living fermented food, like yogurt or sauerkraut. I had observed for many years that recipes usually warn you to add the miso last to soups and not to boil it, but no recipe ever said why, and it had not occurred to me to wonder. I […]