Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Clancy's Fancy Hot Sauce: The Umami Mother Lode

Umami is a difficult taste experience to explain. Even Firefox's spell-check is confused and wants to replace Umami with "Mamie" (note to Mozilla: taste and Al Jolson don't exactly go together). Umami sounds like a cat call, a fumbling step towards ecstasy; it sounds nothing  like "pleasant savory taste" which is the word's literal translation from the Japanese. Technically speaking, umami is the savory sensation provoked by glutamate containing foods such as shiitake mushrooms, seaweed, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, eggs, beef, pork, chicken and a long list of other umami rich foods containing the nucleotides inosinate and guanylate.

When it comes to understanding umami, experience trumps explanation. Clancy's Fancy Hot Sauce is Umami 101. Apple cider vinegar, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, Michigan wildflower honey, ginger, paprika and cayenne build the body of this hot sauce, but the kicker isn't the spice; it's the umami packing, wheat-free tamari-infused bouillon base, which also includes dulse (that's seaweed for all you meat eaters).

Colleen Clancy invented Clancy's Fancy Hot Sauce in Ann Arbor, Michigan while trying to add a bit of zip to a recipe for Tofu Pepperoni. After serving her hot sauce at a vegetarian potluck dinner word of mouth led to a successful Michigan-based hot sauce business that's 30 years old. The only thing that has changed since Clancy's Fancy Hot Sauce was created is Ms. Clancy's diet; she's a meat-eater now. Ooh, what a little moonlight umami can do for you...

Clancy's Fancy Hot Sauce can be purchased at their online store. The hot sauce is formulated in three strengths: mild, hot and extra hot. Bottles are sold in 3.75 oz. and 7.5 oz. sizes.

The Umami Information Center offers an extensive amount of data on "the fifth taste". This link provides a list of the types of foods containing umami.

Our feline friends have a leg up on umami when it comes to cat cravings. Like humans, cats have T1R1, T1R2 and T1R3 taste receptors. Sweet tastes bind to T1R2 and T1R3. Umami tastes bind to T1R1 and T1R3. Cats' T1R2 gene is non-functional which is why cats are not fond of sweets, but love umami.

Clancy's Fancy Hot Sauce is great for people living with smell and taste disorders. Umami rich foods have a savory character that induces salivation which in turn stimulates appetite. A diet high in umami also helps cancer patients who experience taste disorders and dry mouth from their treatments. The mild version of Clancy's Fancy Hot Sauce is suited to delicate palates. To learn more about anosmia read "Anosmia Matters: Whether You Can Smell or Not."