Is Umami MSG? Does MSG Have Umami Flavor?

umami flavor from tomato

It appears some confusion exists about the relationship between umami and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Are they similar? Where did umami come from? Does MSG have umami flavor? Inquiring minds want to know.

If you are still a bit perplexed, we’d like to help. To do so, I’ve looked back at the blogs posted on MSGdish.com over the past few years. From there, I excerpted a few statements that are educational, even though they may be a bit repetitive, but repetition can be good. So here we go!

Over a hundred years ago, Professor Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University wondered what made kelp broth taste so good. He recognized that, “There is a taste which is common to asparagus, tomatoes, cheese and meat but which is not one of the four well-known tastes of sweet, sour, bitter and salty,” and set out to figure out what it was. He discovered that glutamate, an amino acid made by many plants and animals, was the source of this distinctive taste, and named the flavor “umami.”

Chefs Explain Umami, That Fifth Taste We Can’t Get Enough Of

Monosodium Glutamate - Successful in Savory Recipes

Twenty-five years ago, a television channel dedicated solely to food came into our homes. Yes, I’m talking about the Food Network. At the time, the concept of watching culinary experts (24/7 no less) sharing their skills and knowledge — live and via video — was novel. Up until then, resources were limited to reading about the culinary world or practicing food preparation methods first-hand.

Now, however, we take for granted that we can learn about food and cooking by watching and listening to television/radio shows and online videos. Content ranges from food trends, culinary techniques and new ingredients to competitions between seasoned chefs (as well as contests between novices and professionals). All it takes to learn more about food is as simple as turning on our TVs or by tapping a button on our computers, tablets or smart phones.

Indeed, discussions about food have permeated our lives, whether we like it or not. “Food talk” is now inescapable in our society. For example, until we had these television shows, online videos and websites, who had heard much about umami taste, which has been taking the culinary world by storm for the past decade?

The Reasoning Behind the Seasoning: Why Seasoning Food Properly Makes It Taste Better

seasoning food

Sometimes we taste a food or meal and think, “Hmm, this needs something. Right?! Seasoning properly is the downfall of most cooks; seasoning food properly makes all the difference in taste,” according to Jame P. DeWan, who teaches culinary arts at Kendall College in Chicago.

“Most people don’t know how to make food taste its very best. And a lot of it comes down to how the food is seasoned,” he explains.

New Year Resolutions: Keeping Them Real

new year resolutions

Here we go again. Another year has passed us by so it’s time to make the oft-dreaded New Year resolutions. If you’re like millions of other people, weight loss will be a part of those resolutions. If I had to guess, far too many new year resolutions are made while in a holiday fog, thanks to:

Holiday Leftovers: Some Reasoning for the Seasoning

holiday leftovers

In a recent blog, we talked about some of the senses that are associated with favorite holiday foods: The smell of cinnamon and homemade pumpkin pie baking in the oven. Freshly baked yeast rolls teasing our senses. The savory aroma of honey-glazed ham or a roasted turkey, wafting through the house. And these vibrant scents of much-loved foods are surpassed by how delicious these foods taste.

But what about the leftovers, which are often an integral part of the holidays? In our house, the holiday leftovers are almost as important as the main meal itself. In fact, several family members like leftovers the best.

Here’s a clue as to why leftovers are often preferred.