Those crazy Japanese scientists keep discovering new flavors. First it was umami, the detection of savory, and now it’s kokumi. Unlike salty, sweet and bitter, the compounds that make up kokumi don’t have a distinct flavor. Rather, kokumi acts as a sort of amplifier for flavors, making salty foods saltier, savory foods more savory and sweet foods more sweet. While that won’t affect your dinner plans, it’s good news for food scientists, as this creates the potential to create better tasting, more healthful options. By upping the kokumi in, say, potato chips, they could make a low-fat version as satisfying as its greasy, salty cousin.   Can’t put down starchy food? It might be in your genes. Researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia recently found the amount of amylase, an enzyme in an individual’s saliva, dramatically affected how the person perceived the texture of starchy food. The study found populations with a historically high-starch diet had more amylase, which helps explain why noodles, dumplings, mashed potatoes and bread are like crack for some people. — Kyle Tonniges Comments? Questions? Want more? Check out our Booked blog online at thereader.com. Or email us at booked@thereader.com.


Subscribe to The Reader Newsletter

Our awesome email newsletter briefing tells you everything you need to know about what’s going on in Omaha. Delivered to your inbox every day at 11:00am.

Become a Supporting Member

Subscribe to thereader.com and become a supporting member to keep locally owned news alive. We need to pay writers, so you can read even more. We won’t waste your time, our news will focus, as it always has, on the stories other media miss and a cultural community — from arts to foods to local independent business — that defines us. Please support your locally-owned news media by becoming a member today.

Leave a comment