I love the title of this post because the opposite seems to be the general perception these days. Basically, many people see MSG as a product most often found in food products that are highly processed, cheap, and low-quality. At the same time, they do not see how MSG can be part of more serious, upscale, and gourmet foods. I see a similar attitude among chefs. Some chefs are completely opposed to using MSG in food and see it as beneath their talents — a type of culinary cheating. They see MSG as not being wholesome and natural. Other chefs understand that MSG is completely safe and bumps up umami (delicious savory notes) in a recipe. At the same time, some of these same chefs still do not use MSG for fear of negative consumer feedback or their company’s policy.
Umami is hot right now. As Americans expand their palates to include more foods from different cultures, they’re getting introduced to an abundance of umami-rich foods. Famous chefs are currently featuring it in their menus and building restaurant concepts around it. But umami isn’t just a buzzword or a fad; it’s one of your five basic tastes.
This is the year you’re going to do it! This is the year you will stick to your New Year Resolutions! How am I so sure? Because this year, you’ll have MSG to help you “Meet Simple Goals!”
MSG, of course, is monosodium glutamate, the flavor enhancer that is glutamic acid, found naturally in our foods and in our bodies combined with a single sodium molecule for stability.
So how exactly will this umami seasoning (aka flavor enhancer) make your year better? Keep reading!
My mom is 89 years old, and she eats like the proverbial bird. I probably worry about that more than the average person given my day to day work in nutrition. Finding ways to get older individuals interested in eating can be a very frustrating challenge. Adding MSG in foods, especially in nutritious foods, may help improve satisfaction in eating, while increasing intake of some essential nutrients.
I recently attended the first World Umami Forum in NYC. I was outside on a break, and a man not attending the event saw my ID tag and out of the blue, said, “I love umami. It’s my favorite flavor.”
Would he have said that “MSG” was his favorite flavor? Probably not, but he could have. MSG – specifically the “G”, for “glutamate” – is what’s responsible for the powerful appeal of umami flavor.