Apr 26 • 26M

EP 40: Sailing the Umami Seas - Fishy Origins of an Ancient Recipe, Proper Pronunciation of a Pantry Staple, and our favorite Bloody Marys

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Food lovers, Kim Baker and Leigh Olson, invite you on a storytelling journey exploring food memories, family recipes, food traditions, cuisines, cookery, and food history to discover how food connects, defines, and inspires us.
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In the latest episode of our “What’s in Your Pantry” series, Leigh and Kim plunge into the stories of two flavorful pantry staples that brighten up our foods and add some spark to our Bloody Mary’s  - Worcestershire Sauce and Fish Sauce. Come for the correct way to pronounce Worcestershire Sauce and stay for the fish sauce suggestions!

The Fifth Taste

Of the five tastes that humans universally enjoy, four are easiest to describe - sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. The fifth is umami which could be described ephermally as either rich, tangy, or savory. It’s a taste that adds a satisfying depth of flavor to a dish and even though it is sometimes hard to identify, you miss it when it’s gone.

Our latest episode in our popular “What’s in Your Pantry” series follows the origin of two popular sauce condiments with completely different flavor profiles but that both originate from a common, ancient recipe for Garum. 

Garum is an ancient recipe rooted in the history of the Roman Empire, but variations of it have been enjoyed within most food cultures around the world. It traveled north with sea merchants to Europe where it developed into a truly unique condiment which gained its famous name from Worcester, England. 

Meanwhile a different variation of garum went east to China where a popular sauce made from fermented fish and soybeans was developed  into two international favorites - soy sauce and fish sauce. As immigrants from Southeast and East Asia immigrated to the United States, they brought recipes to remind them of their first homes, but soon discovered that available products stood in the way of creating accurate flavor. The resulting effort brought new products and flavor profiles to market in the United States. 

We conclude the episode with discussion about how each of these sauces - while very different side-by-side - both have the ability to enhance the flavors of our favorite dishes, including the seminal Bloody Mary cocktail!

Do you use fish sauce in your cooking? Join the conversation, let us know how and if you have a favorite recipe to share.

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Sailing the Umami Seas Transcript

🎧 Click here for the full, interactive transcript of this episode 🎧 {UPDATE LINK}


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