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  Dr Barbara Santich - "Umami in Australian Food"
Program Manager
Le Cordon Bleu Graduate Program in Gastronomy,
University of Adelaide

One of underlying concepts of ancient Greek philosophy, which became the basis for European beliefs, was the idea that everything in the world is ultimately made up of some mixture of the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. The concept of four was adopted as a basic organising principle – hence four seasons, four human temperaments, four tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter. The dominance of this paradigm hindered recognition of a fifth taste, umami – despite the fact that a number of foods naturally rich in glutamate were part of an average Western diet. In Australia, a range of salty, sour and sweet condiments, such as Worcestershire sauce, mushroom ketchup, tomato relish and chutney, served to highlight the plain and simple roasts and grills which reflected the British influence on our eating habits and contributed the savoury taste of umami to the eating experience.
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