4/ Umami

It’s a truism that food affects your health and temper.  Xa Milne comments sagely, ‘Lack of pleasure from food, or lack of taste, often results in poor diet and subsequent health issues.’  She cites clinical tests that have revealed how human taste stimulation, promoting palatability, can have a positive impact on our general well being.

Relish what you eat.

An appetising component of my family’s diet over a good number of years has been dulse (dilisk) seaweed.  This seaweed purchased in dried form has been added to almost every conceivable savoury dish from rice to ratatouille, as well as nibbled raw and uncooked.

One snack in particular that has augmented this family’s pleasure trove was introduced by my wife at some time unknown, in the misty past.  

Dried fronds of dulse are spread on an ovenproof dish.  Grated cheese – a white cheddar seems best - is then scattered on top of the dulse.  The dish is put in the oven to bake for ten minutes.  The result is a wickedly crisp, mouthwatering seduction that would tempt the indulgence of even the most abstemious ascetic.

My first taste of this artfully simple blend was an epiphany.  Beethoven swelled in the background.  Daffodils fluttered and danced beside the lake, beneath the trees.

This delicious taste was umami – the fifth taste besides sweet, sour, salt and bitter.  Dulse is palpably tangible, delectable umami.

Oscar Wilde remarked that after a good dinner one can have forgiveness for anybody, even one’s own relatives.  It may be divined from this post that my own dear partner for many years has long had mine.

© Benóg Brady Bates


Mary B's Cheesy Seaweed Snack

Ingredients                                                                              Preparation Time: 10 mins
   28g dried dulse (dilisk) seaweed                                     Cooking Time: 10 mins
 50g strong white cheddar cheese (grated)                       Difficulty: Easy peasy

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. 
  2. Place dulse in an ovenproof dish tearing up any long strands. 
  3. Scatter grated cheese on top. 
  4. Roast until the cheese has melted and dulse has become nice and crispy on top. 
  5. Leave to cool and tear into bite size pieces. Enjoy! 


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