Wednesday, 6 May 2009

MSG- 100 years on.

Prejudices aside, most of us enjoy eating a bag of cheese and onion flavoured crisps (or have you ever wondered why McCoy’s Salted is so addictive) and choose not to acknowledge the presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in its list of ingredients. MSG is highly elating to the appetite and like the naturally occurring free glutamates that are found in Parmesan cheese, Marmite, mushrooms etc.; the resultant sensation of umami is paramount to good eating. I’ve said it once before and I’ll nag about it again, salt is a lot worse for our health than MSG. Read Alex Renton’s wonderful tuppence worth for the OFM here. MSG shouldn’t be shoved to one side and consigned to Room 101, used within the right context and moderation, Kikunae Ikeda’s discovery is totally useful at best. The Essence of Taste (Aji no Moto) is a century old this year. If a dish contains some MSG, I’m au fait with that because I like my food tasty*.

*We shouldn’t deny to ourselves that a huge majority of Chinese restaurants (as well as Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, etc) include MSG in the cooking, it’s part and parcel and it’s certainly not the end of the world. Restaurants who lead you to believe they’re MSG free are only kidding themselves, MSG is present in soy sauces and oyster sauces. Chill folks, it’s only umami and it’s by enlarge delicious!

5 comments:

Su-Lin said...

Hooray for MSG!

I would have thought it was used in a lot of snack foods too, not just Asian foods? Most seasoned salts include it, I believe, including the Aussie chicken salt.

Lizzie said...

There's MSG in pringles too. That's wy it's sooo good.

Bri said...

While I'm all for adding natural unprocessed foods to our menu that grow with the glutamic acid compounds (such as cheese and tomatos) processed MSG is a different and toxic compound. Look up excitotoxins on Google. People who claim that if it grows naturally then the mass produced product is safe only need to look at their fresh red apples on the counter and be reminded that apples contain trace levels of cyanide. Most of us wouldn't have any problems eating an apple, but processed cyanide is something I think most people try to avoid. MSG is not harmless in mass doses or from processed sources.

bellaphon said...

Bri- Thank you for your insight, I believe I'm talking with the word 'moderation' in mind. Anything can kill from over consumption of water to dare I say, carcinogens!

meemalee said...

A belated hooray! for MSG :)