About Carolyn

Oh hi, I’m Carolyn Cope. You may remember me from such feature presentations as “Practicing Corporate Law: WTF?,” “Dot-Com Days: There’s No ‘Experience’ in ‘Expert,'” and “The Stay-at-Home Witch Project.” In 2006, I trained in classical culinary technique at the French Culinary Institute in New York, after having graduated from Princeton University and Columbia Law School. Having lived in the greater New York area for many years, I’ve recently up and moved to London.

About this Site: Welcome to Umami Girl, where I write a short piece every week about my adventures in food. Most weeks I share recipes, many of them original, and all of them tested and approved by my family and me. Usually you’ll also find a story of one sort or another in the mix.

My Food Philosophy: Thanks to a Mom ahead of her time, I’ve always focused on making fresh, whole foods delicious through thoughtful home cooking. I learned a lot about crazy-ass vegetables (including how much I adore them) while hosting a weekly Community Supported Farm drop-off in my garage in Hoboken, NJ for several seasons. I’ve felt great joy and relief watching Americans begin to embrace Michael Pollan’s “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” mentality. However, I cringe a little when the sustainable foods movement starts to feel like a Most Virtuous Competition; and I have a long, proud history of getting my greedy little hand stuck in Pringles cans and dreaming of what it might be like to chug soft ice cream directly from the pump.

Contact Me: Feel free to leave a comment here if you’ve got something to share with the class – I love reading comments and try to respond to them all. Or, if you’d rather, you can email me at umamigirl [at] gmail [dot] com.


About Cope

Welcome. Thank you for joining us. Everyone calls me Cope. Please do.

Being a husband and father is the best. Our family, friends and community make every day hilarious.

I am the only son of two talented people. Both are educators. One a rebel. One a story-teller. I am both.

The home I grew up in was strong in ideals and emotion. Some of each were constructive. Some not so much. Carolyn and I work every day to craft a worldly life and a home that is open to learning.

Day to day I work in construction and urban planning. I enjoy my work and how it benefits people, the way they work and their environment.

When I am not working I am learning, traveling or planning—for our future, for the fun of it and for our financial independence. I crave independence and love to learn so as to have more of it.

Soon we will start a family of Cope companies. Most will challenge the ways things are done. All will offer the best of life that we can offer, drawing from what we have learned so far and what we will.

Thank you for joining us as we enjoy our adventure. We’ll share more as there is more to share.

Speak to you soon,

About Umami

Umami means “yummy” or “delicious” in Japanese. Long recognized by observant eaters of both Eastern and Western cuisines, it was officially acknowledged by scientists as the fifth taste (along with sour, sweet, salty and bitter) only in 2002. Much more than just another taste, umami is the reason for culinary gestalt – that little extra something that catapults a food to a deliciousness far greater than the sum of its parts.

To learn more about how to get your fix, check out the Umami Information Center, this article at NPR.org, and this post at the Nourish Network.


Thanks for reading Umami Girl. We strive to keep it real around here. Since a big part of our M.O. is the whole off-the-grid, unique voice, think-for-yourself vibe, we hope it’s obvious that we value our independent spirit more than almost anything else. We hope you find our considered opinions to be of some value, too.

That said, we’ve been lucky to have gotten a little more internet-famous as the years (years!) of blogging have ticked by. When you’re internet-famous—even just a little—people like to give you free stuff. Also, you tend to meet other people who are internet-famous in their own right—authors, peddlers, visionaries, evangelists. You know the types.

Sometimes we meet people. Sometimes they give us stuff. Sometimes we write about it. We don’t pretend to like stuff that we don’t like. How lame would that be? But we don’t want to always have to salt and pepper our individual posts with disclaimers and gut-wrenching confessions. That’s what reality TV is for. So please consider this your official FTC disclosure that we may have received free goods, free meals, payment, link love, love love, or even a little bitta umami in exchange for what we write on these pages. That’s life, friends. We do our best to live it with integrity.

Oh! And just in case you were inclined to take our advice as a substitute for the advice of your doctor or medical professional, let me stop you right there. Don’t do it, k? Go have a chat with your doctor. We’ll still be here when you get back.

  • Carina

    i like your website! it’s very interesting – with beautiful pictures! not that i was expecting anything less given your mom’s photog genes. :P hope you and your family are doing well!ReplyCancel

  • Thanks, Carina!ReplyCancel

  • Daphne

    Carolyn – its nice to see your list of recommended books – I am a huge fan of Alice Waters – I lived around the corner from Chez Panisse for many years -ReplyCancel

  • I’ve known about your blog for a while, but I didn’t know until last night that Waqaas was a mutual friend.

    I can relate to your blog name. I’ve always preferred umami to sweet, even as a very little girl. It’s true that, as I write this, I’m about to prepare a recipe from The Essence of Chocolate, by the founders of Scharffen Berger, but, um, this is not at all typical and I’m being paid to do it!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn

    Michele, that’s nuts. I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for a few months – though I can’t remember how I found you originally – but I had no idea you knew Waqaas. Small world!

    I certainly wouldn’t turn up my nose at a nice piece of Scharffen Berger, but as far as the desert island question goes, I’d choose cheese – or a packet of soy sauce from the sushi counter at the supermarket – over it in an instant.ReplyCancel

  • Hey carolyn, i came across google and found your blog. enjoy much reading your post. Beautiful thesis design, hehehe :-)ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn: I just found your site through the Food Blog Alliance. As a former attorney in big law and full-blown Simpsons junkie, I sympathize with your Troy McClure-style documentary, “Practicing Corporate Law: WTF?” Anyway, I am glad to have found you and am looking forward to reading more posts from you.ReplyCancel

  • Came here from Taste Spotting. Love how you write :)ReplyCancel

  • Missouri Cook

    Hi! Great Whole wheat pancake recipe! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Lianalaurie Cortez

    I thought Oishii was delicious in Japanese? Let know what u think.ReplyCancel

  • […] "The Crisper Whisperer: 10 Great Blogs for Veggie Lovers That May Be New to You."  The author, Carolyn Cope of umamigirl.com, said Elana's Pantry is an "under-appreciated resource for produce lovers."  I am […]ReplyCancel

  • Daphne

    I wasn’t sure where to place this comment – but I want everyone to know how you sparked Sam’s love affair with Kale. Any food writer should be proud of sparking a love affair, particularly with a vegetable, but when the star crossed pair includes a dark green cruciferous vegetable avoided by many in the over 30 set, & a 6.5 year old, then it is a feat to be recorded:
    Part I – (Nov ’10) Sam comes to your house for dinner & is served meltingly unctuous kale with carmelized onions, blue cheese & walmuts( cider vineger & chicken broth also important umamai ingredients). Sam avoids walnuts, even in brownies & chocolate chip cookies- but inhaled the kale despite their presence.
    Part II – (Dec ’10) Determined not to let the chance slip, and despite Dad’s recent remark that kale is not his favorite vegetable – Sam’s mom prepares mutipple versions of this dish – admittedly somewhat simplified ( carmelized would not describe the onions) Sam continues to inhale this dish. He likes it as a side or on top of pasta, and does not appear to notice the absence of blue cheese.
    Part III (Jan 13, 2011)Sam is a lover of pasta, and the times he enjoys his rice have increased haltingly – but mom is tired one day and happens to come across the exact amount of arborio rice for 2 people – one pot instead of two & the use of a leftover ingredient is so appealing….could she dare to serve risotto where the main featured ingredienn our leafy friend> YES! Sam, who has eschewed risotto in the past – is licking the bowl.
    Part IV (Jan 15,2011) Emboldened by recent sucess – Sam’s mom institutes a new saturday morning ritual – vegetable prep. Sam is informed it is his job to help and he patiently tears leaves from our leafy curly friend of 2 & helps make kale chips – and LOVES THEM. Watch out smart puffs – a new competitor is on the scene…..

    Umami girl, thank you!!!ReplyCancel

    • Daphne! Thank you so much for sharing the good news in such detail. I hardly feel like I can take credit for it all, but I’ll try. xxReplyCancel

  • Hi Carolyn! Wow – after following your blog for months and months, I can’t believe I just read this page! I’m a Princeton alumna, too, so naturally I immediately got excited when I read this section! I graduated in 2010 and now attend medical school. Apart from being a science nerd and aspiring to be a doctor, I have always been fascinated with food, architecture, and interior design. So, your blog allows me to live vicariously through you!
    All the best,

    • Hi Veronica, thanks for your comment. Nice to meet you! Though not a science nerd myself (I wish!), I am from a proud family of science nerds. And I know enough about medicine to realize that I am very glad that OTHER people go to med school, so thanks for doing that. See you around here again soon.ReplyCancel

  • Deborah

    Hi Carolyn,

    I just discovered your website while Googling for miso soup recipes and really like it, so thank you!
    It’s a rainy, chilly day in Seattle and I’m eating miso soup made from your excellent recipe a second day in a row. If I do say so myself, it’s better than any miso soup I’ve had in a restaurant – so thank you very much for the recipe!


  • Hey! What a swell website!
    We’re still working ours out, but yours is very inspiring. Some of your recipes look utterly fantastic! I’m glad I stumbled upon this :)ReplyCancel

  • Hi,

    I really enjoy your website. It is very original and has a great personal touch. When reading your posts, it is very conversational. I started a food blog in Houston, TX and I really love what you’re doing. Recently started following you on Twitter and will definitely check back often.


  • Hello, I am Roberta, an Italian student in Lecce (Salento), and I am working on a project concerning the Italian style food programme. May you please tell me your email address? I’d like to invite you to a food festival we are organizing in late may 2012. Thank you very much.ReplyCancel

  • Bcraig

    I look forward to reading your post.ReplyCancel

  • Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve bookmarked it for later!ReplyCancel

  • I enjoy looking through a post that can make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!ReplyCancel

  • […] with other perfect foods such as bacon and anchovies. Need to know more about umami? Check out the Umami Girl blog, she’s got it […]ReplyCancel

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