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Issue Date: May 2008 Issue


Defined Tastes

2008 Silver Spoon Awards
Sweet (swēt)adj. 1. Pleasant, agreeable;antonym: “sweetbread,” circa 1565, from the Old Englishbræd (flesh — not so agreeable; see “umami” for the pancreas as food).2a. Pleasing to the taste. 2b. Being or inducing one of the four basic taste sensations that is typically induced by disaccharides and is mediated especially by receptors in taste buds at the front of the tongue. 3a. Alternative to “dude” (adj.). 3b. What Sour Patch Kids candy is second.Definitions courtesy of Merriam-Webster online dictionary, The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, The Online Etymology Dictionary and our staff.

Sour
(sau (-ə)r)adj. 1. Having the acid taste or smell of or as if of fermentation. 2a. Grapes, whether emotion is involved or not (but esp. when in reference to a chef’s departure from his latest kitchen). 2b. What Sour Patch Kids candy is first.Origin derives from various sources: Old Englishsur,from Proto-Germanic suraz,Old Norse surr,Middle Dutch suur, Old High German sur,German sauer;Old Church Slavonic syru,Russian syroimeaning “moist, raw.”

Umami
(ü-ˈmä-mē)noun 1a. Savoriness, flavor, pungency. 1b. Japanese term for the taste of glutamate, the main active ingredient in konbu (kelp), as coined by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University in 1908. 1c. A taste sensation that is meaty or savory and is produced by several amino acids and nucleotides. 2. When spoken aloud, with fervor, the typical reaction to the dishes that follow(exclamation, as in: “Ooh, Mommy that’s good!”).

Salty (so l-tē)adj. 1a. My mother’s cooking. 1b. Your mother’s cooking. 2. An ingredient that gives savor, piquancy or zest. 3a. Smacking of the sea or nautical life. 3b. Piquant. 3c. Earthy, crude <salty language>.Origin: Old Englishsealt (n. and adj.), Old Church Slavonicsoli, Old Irishsalann.

Bitter
(bi-tər)adj. 1a. Having a harsh taste;etymology: from Proto-Indo-European base “bheid” (to split — see “fissure”). 1b. Being or inducing one of the four basic taste sensations that is peculiarly acrid, astringent or disagreeable and suggestive of an infusion of hops. 2. With “medicine,” metaphorical term for the new trend in raw-food restaurants — which (thankfully) hasn’t made it here yet, although Chrissie Hynde’s vegan restaurant in Akron has us on that path.

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