In 1908, Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda named the “fifth flavor”—a deep baritone on the taste scale that’s meaty, fermented, savory and funky. A unique palate clang that Lesley Bargar Suter elegantly explains in her May profile on Adam Fleischman as “the reason (we) crave bacon. It’s why Italian grandmothers sneak anchovies into everything, and why something that smells like an old gym sock can taste like heaven.”
Umami is clearly a food lover’s staple. But for those of us who are more, shall we say, cultural omnivores, is it possible those key qualities—that savory and soulful sumpin sumpin—can apply to people?
Yes. Think of them as Humamis: Humans with umami characteristics. Those strangely alluring people who have a flavor profile that’s humming with an earthy, salty, not-quite-dirty charisma that’s hard to define—but you know it when you see it.
Here’s our fledgling effort to name famous Humamis. Feel free to suggest more in the comments section below.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (1) Wikipedia, (2) bloc28.com, (3) Wikipedia, (4) edruscha.com, (5) Wikipedia, (6) Wikipedia, (7) MySpace, (8) Wikipedia, (9) Wikipedia, (11) Wikipedia, (12) askarsswedishmeatballs.tumblr.com, (13) Wikipedia, (14) Wikipedia, (15) Wikipedia
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