My interest in umami and MSG started in a rather unexpected way. Years ago, I was lecturing in my charcuterie class about various additives used in sausage and other meat preparations. I commented that we would not use MSG in class because it was not “good.” After class, a student from the Philippines asked me what was wrong with MSG. I don’t remember exactly what I said but it was along the lines of it being suspect, etc. She had a confused look on her face. This got me wondering if I really understood 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.”
Humans are innately drawn to the rich savory flavor of umami. People are generally not, however, drawn to the bitter taste of vegetables. So, making vegetable dishes more savory and thus more appealing seems like a no-brainer. Parents have been inadvertently doing this for years every time they added cheese to their kids’ broccoli. Here are several other more sophisticated, tried and true methods to boost the umami in your vegetables and finally get compliments on your Brussel sprouts.
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
In a previous blog, I professed that there’s no other style of food quite like barbecue. “When a food gets grilled and smoked, something magical happens, and the resulting product has inspired widespread passionate devotion. And whether you’re a BBQ connoisseur or just an occasional rib-eater, there are some things you probably don’t know about this wonderful style of cooking.”