A quick lesson in Japanese before we begin. So you got your sweet, your salty, your bitter and your sour. Where exactly on your tongue does, say, a sliver of quivering pork belly make an impression? How about the deep, earthy flavor of your favorite fungi? And what type of tastebud would love a little tickle of tuna?
Ding, ding, ding! Umami. The fifth taste sensed by the human tongue and Japanese for "savory," umami represents all those foods that don't quite fit into any other category. In other words, it's the maverick in your mouth.
Luckily for you, dear reader, this weekend marks the second edition of the the Umami Food & Art Festival, which works in partnership with other NYC organizations to foster collaborations between artists and food professionals. (We would like this opportunity to pitch a video project with one Mr. Anthony Bourdain about the sensuality of oysters. Seriously. Call us.)
Our friends at Rooftop Films will be hosting a selection of short films from the Umami Food & Art Festival at the Old American Can Factory and will feature pieces like Miss Lucy, a rumination on feminine domesticity where artist Tami Marks uses her kitchen as a temple and her oven as an altar. There's also Chickpea Masala in 4 Movement by Steve Bradley and Happy Birthday by Natalia Panfile, where the artist sings Happy Birthday in Romanian while cake gets hurled at her body.
We're talking meat poems, deconstructed gefilte fish and ritualized hot dogs. We can't say "yes please" fast enough - our tongues are twitching just thinking about it.
8pm this Saturday. 10 bucks, free popcorn and Radeberger Pilsner. Go and get your umami on.