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식욕보상식욕 보상

먹는 즐거움 :  Secret weapon

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The Big 10:
1. Soy sauce
2. Cheese (Cheddar, Parmesan, Romano)
3. Garlic (fresh and roasted)
4. Butter/cream
5. Shallots
6. Sugar and reaction-flavor additions
7. Worcestershire sauce
8. Bacon
9. Egg yolk
10. Superstar salts and spices

1. Soy Sauce—Liquid Pleasure Condiment

This ubiquitous Asian seasoning tops the list as a universal flavor booster. Many people are surprised when I explain in my food pleasure lectures the actual composition of soy sauce and how it is used in Asian cuisines. There are many types of soy sauce, and we will delve into them in some detail, but what is the universal appeal of this ubiquitous seasoning? It’s simple: salt, and MSG, and plenty of taste and aroma-active flavorants. Before we go much further, I want to assure you that MSG in food is quite harmless, despite all the nonsense you’ve heard over the years in the popular press and on the Web. And I know that many food establishments advertise that they don’t use it—emphasizing the point with a line through a circle MSG!

MSG is a natural part of many foods, and our bodies make it naturally (glutamic acid is an amino acid) to support our body’s protein requirements. In one day, close to 20 grams recycle through our systems. It is also the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain and is used extensively by the gut as an energy source. The protein you eat from steak, chicken, and even potatoes is about 20 percent glutamic acid. Breast milk has it, Parmesan cheese is loaded with it, and yeast is a rich source. Wheat protein is a particularly rich source of MSG. So don’t worry about ingesting this fundamental flavor booster. Even health professionals can be confused, however. Once, after an hour-long lecture on food perception to California dietitians, the only statement that made the press was “top physiologist says MSG is okay!” The thirty years of MSG fear (inspired by John Olney, neuroscientist) appears to be waning, and this ingredient is now found in many common kitchen staples, like chicken and beef broth. For a complete discussion on MSG safety see references two through four.

Kikkoman soy sauce contains over 200 taste and aroma-active compounds. The major hedonic tastant of soy is sodium chloride, of course, as much as 18 percent salt by weight! There is a reason you don’t see salt shakers in Chinese restaurants. (Note that lite soy sauce is an acceptable substitute, and I highly recommend it; it is 40 percent lower in sodium.) In addition to salt, soy sauce is also very high in naturally brewed MSG. I’ve seen some analyses that indicate MSG as high as 2 percent w/v! Where does the MSG come from? Simple: soy is a brewed concoction of roasted wheat and soybeans, sea salt, and koji (Aspergillus oryzae). The complex fermentation creates MSG and many interesting compounds; we also find the 5’-nucleotides or “umami boosters.” Fermentation also creates lactic acid, which helps to maintain a pH of 4.8. Schultz (2005) reports the presence of other acids (acetic and succinic) and many sugar derivatives from wheat.5

There is yet another compound in soy sauce that may add extra pleasure to food from a pharmacological perspective (similar to the butyrolactones found in red wine). Upon digestion, wheat protein (gluten, the ingredient that makes bread structure) breaks down into amino acids and small peptides called gluteomorphins and gliadinomorphins. You’ll notice that both words end in -morphin—as in morphine—and have morphine-like effects! Similar to milk-derived casomorphins in structure, these compounds have interesting effects in the body:6
a. Stimulate T-cells (immune response)
b. Have pleasure-like effects in the brain (similar to casomorphins)
c. Slow digestion
d. Reduce pain sensitivity
e. Enhance learning performance

The Addition of Wheat

Wheat is the most popular grain grown on the planet. Wheat’s flavor, its widespread use in bread making, and its high yield per acre no doubt account for the wide popularity of this grain. Despite its relatively poor amino acid profile (as compared to egg or whey protein), wheat, when combined with soy protein, can make the blend fairly nutritious and complete food.7 Hence, soy sauce is not only tasty but adds an element of complementary (more nutritious) proteins as well.

Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, a supposed allergy to MSG does not exist; many studies have failed to find a connection between MSG consumption and adverse reactions.8,9 Perhaps this syndrome is due to a reaction to the gluten derivatives in soy and/or wheat proteins. Gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease, is surprisingly common (up to 1 percent of the population); it occurs when the ingestion of wheat causes intestinal problems and possibly rashes. However, Kataoka (2005) states that the fermentation process in soy sauce effectively destroys the epitopes on the wheat proteins and eliminates allergic potential.8 For a detailed discussion on Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, MSG and food allergy see Walker and Lupien (2000).9

Far from being a villain, soy sauce may be a modern health food (if you discount the high salt content)! Kataoka lists the following interesting physiological aspects of soy sauce:10
•a. Promotes digestion—increases gastric acid secretion
•b. Increases antimicrobial activity against gram negative bacteria (the bad bugs)
•c. Contains antihypertensive compounds (ACE inhibitor)
•d. Contains anticarcinogenic and antioxidant compounds
•e. Contains shoyuflavones that may reduce allergy and inflammations
•f. Enhances anti-platelet activity (blood thinning)

Hence, the health–promoting soy sauce (SS) adds flavor complexity, masks bitter notes, adds umami flavoring, and works well in both sweet and savory systems. SS also contains a number of flavor-active amino acids, dipeptides, and various sugar derivatives. Add a little SS (1 tablespoon) to a standard batch of chocolate chip cookies, and you’ll see what I mean. You won’t detect the soy sauce, but the cookies will taste better.

As the story goes, soy sauce was invented in China 2,500 years ago when Buddhist monk noticed that salted soybean paste fermented on its own. Much later, a Zen priest took the 100 percent soybean formula to Japan, where wheat was added to the mix (around the 1600s) and now called shoyu. Today, most modern soy sauce is made by combining wheat with soybeans in a fermentation vessel along with salt and the fungus culture Aspergillus oryza–creating a Koji mash. Schultz (2005) notes that wheat adds flavor, body, complexity, and preservative properties.5 The resulting fermentation creates lactic acid and ethanol, both of which act as preservatives and keep certain nasty bacterias and yeast from forming. Lactic acid is anti-fungal and promotes a bacterial flora in the large intestine that is human friendly (the milk sugar called lactose does the same thing). Ethanol is fairly toxic to all microbial life and adds extended shelf life at concentrations around 3 percent and above (think beer).

Today, Chinese soy sauce is typically available in three varieties, the normal light table and cooking sauce, a stronger flavored and more viscous “dark” soy sauce with added sugar, and a hot chili soy paste. The Japanese have many types of soy sauce, from the lighter usuikuchi, to the robust and twice fermented saishikomi. However, a more popular version is called tamari, considered the foundation of Japanese cuisine, fermented with higher soy protein content and just a touch of wheat.  Kikkoman’s Tamari soy sauce is widely available in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean grocery stores; and easily found on the Web (Amazon.com). Although the salt content of tamari is similar to regular soy sauce, the taste intensity of the saltiness seems reduced. The aroma and overall flavor is very complex, with a darker color and enhanced viscosity. Taste both, and see which you prefer. Tamari’s complex aromas and taste are best appreciated in dipping sauces and in meat applications.5,11

Here are some of the uses of soy sauce in food product development and cuisine (taken from the Kikkoman Web site and based on my experience):
•a. SS adds a depth of flavor to cured meats like beef jerky (quite essential, actually).
•b. In many savory dishes SS can add color, richness, and saltiness (of course) and can reduce bitterness.
•c. SS is useful in such systems as baked goods when adding color and flavor and boosting the natural savory nature of wheat proteins.
•d. SS adds a balance of flavor in sweet systems like cookies and even chocolate dishes. Add just a little—one or two teaspoons is plenty.
•e. SS contains MSG that may activate other receptors as well, including those for heat and cold perception. Thus, adding a bit of soy sauce to a gingersnap cookie may actually wake up the ginger flavor.

Therefore, sneaking in a little soy in many food preparations will boost the flavor and the ultimate pleasure of that food. I particularly like it in reduction sauces, beef stews, chocolate chip cookies, refried beans, and almost any dish that needs a bit more umami to make it stand out. Please note that soy sauce is quite salty; resist the temptation to add extra salt until near the end of cooking. Salt taste is difficult to mask in foods once it is added, although adding a little sugar and acid may help reduce salty perception. Try adding small amounts of soy sauce to such dishes as Caesar salad, beurre rouge sauce, and even crème brûlée. Adding SS and honey to pizza crust adds additional flavor and enhances caramelization (Maillard reaction).


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