Giving Thanks for Umami: Recipes for Savory Foods at Thanksgiving

savory foods with umami

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Can you believe it? Reconnecting with and enjoying favorite foods, family and friends is the mainstay of this holiday.

Here at MSGdish, we’re mostly about the food and have blogged in the past about the Thanksgiving meal. Included in these blogs are ways to make family-favorite recipes even more delicious. In particular, we have written about traditional Thanksgiving recipes that fall into the savory foods category (i.e., not “sweet”) These foods are considered “savory” in part due to the glutamate content of the ingredients. To us and the culinary world, savory equals “umami.” Thus, it is natural to be writing about “umami” flavor. All of us at MSGdish just can’t help ourselves!

This Thanksgiving, if you are looking for simple ways to “boost the umami” in your Thanksgiving recipes, here are a handful of suggestions.

Umami and MSG Get Some Love at FNCE

cooking with umami

Only a few days ago, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrated its 100th anniversary Food Nutrition Conference and Exhibition (FNCE) in Chicago, Illinois. Many members of the MSGdish team were there attending sessions, browsing the trade show floor and making new connections in the food world. MSGdish blogger and consultant Chef Chris Koetke was at FNCE too.

What is MSG?

what is MSG

In case you missed this informative article about “What is MSG,” published in the Huffington Post this month…

Author Julie R. Thomson noted: “MSG is one of the most notorious ingredients in the United States. The Japanese ingredient that’s commonly used in Chinese restaurants stateside, has been blamed for making people feel ill with symptoms ranging from headaches to asthma. (This reaction came to be known as Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.)”

“Many studies have been done to determine a relationship between the consumption of MSG and the symptoms that comprise the syndrome mentioned above, but they have failed to find a link.”

MSG is Truly Umami Seasoning

MSG is Truly Umami Seasoning

So many divisive and emotional exchanges dominate the food conversations of today. MSG is no stranger to the controversy. And while science knows that MSG and glutamate, the component responsible for the much sought umami flavor are the same, too often in the public dialogue we see umami = good; MSG = bad. But a deeper dive into the components behind umami seasoning and MSG reveals that the body does not differentiate between the glutamate element found naturally in foods and that found in

Making Sense of Our Sense of Taste

Making Sense of Taste

When I was in graduate school at Drexel University in Philadelphia, I was taught “if a food doesn’t taste good – no matter how healthy it is – it doesn’t get eaten.” A very memorable student visit to the Monell Chemical Senses Center, right down the street from Drexel, reinforced that concept. Monell is the world’s only independent, non-profit scientific institute dedicated to basic research on taste and smell. It was where the sense of taste, finally made sense to me!