The Juicy BitsThe Juicy Bits

There's a new taste in town: kokumi. Japanese scientists have identified a taste receptor for kokumi, so you're likely to hear more about it as research continues. Kokumi is similar to umami but more about mouthfeel. It can be described as the mouth-coating fullness you get from foods like chicken soup and Gouda cheese. Kokumi is also what makes sautéed onions taste so good. To see what I'm talking about, try some sautéed wild ramps while they're still in season. Use these tips for foraging wild ramps in your region. And if you're sautéeing ramps in olive oil, choose your fat wisely. Extra light? Extra virgin? Pure? This article points you in the right direction for the best olive oil. If you're more likely to find ramps at a local restaurant, go ahead and book a reservation. But go easy on the place if they don't have ramps. Most independent restaurants are still struggling to survive the pandemic, and now they're facing a major labor shortage. Over the past year, nearly 2 million restaurant workers found jobs elsewhere, and many aren't coming back. Take it easy on your local brewery too. It's been a tough year for beer. Total craft beer production is down for the first time ever in the industry's history. Let's hope craft beer sales pick up as people start going out to brewpubs again. That's what's happening with hot dogs. Ballparks are reopening, and demand for ballpark franks is going up. But the overall pork supply is down, which means that pork prices are rising. If you're a fan of homemade pork BBQ, you might want to stock up on pork shoulder now before prices climb higher. And while you're shopping for grillables, pick up some cheese. Salty, firm halloumi cheese is one of the few varieties that grills up beautifully, and halloumi just been given the distinction of PDO status by European lawmakers. That means cheap imitations can't be labeled as "halloumi." Skip the "halloumi style" knockoffs, and get the good stuff from Cyprus. It's reasonably priced and worth every penny.



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