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MSG Mythbuster

Frankie Celenza

You've been told MSG is bad. But is it really? We're separating fact from fiction with this naturally occurring ingredient.

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Transcript

- MSG, I know what you're thinking. It's bad. Why do you think it's bad? Because they told you it's bad. But is it really bad? Let's find out. Let's talk about salt. I love salt. This is Maldon salt. Sometimes I eat it straight. It's crunchy, it's delicious, and it's really salty. Now, you can be a better cook by putting salt on things. Salt on ice cream for example is wonderful because your tongue can sense four flavors. And they are: sweet, salt, sour, and bitter. Those are the four flavors. And salt tends to open up the receptors in your tongue so that other flavors can go in. So when use salt for example, ice cream, you're able to taste more sweet. Because salt is an intensifier. Now, Japanese cooking is sort of built around kelp and dashi. It has another flavor. It has this savory flavor. You may have heard of umami. This is this fifth flavor. It's not salty, it's not bitter, it's savory. So in 1909 a Japanese scientist figured out how to isolate this and he created monosodium glutamate. Which we have right here. And initially it tastes salty and then it has this sort of bitter savory thing happens and that is followed by a rush of saliva. MSG has a bad rap but it really isn't that bad. It's naturally occurring in many many foods. Like blue cheese, Parmesan cheese, broccoli. Other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower. It naturally occurs in tomatoes. So how is this any different from Sweet'n Low in the morning? I riddle you that. Let me tell you something. I cook with MSG occasionally. When I am making chicken, I'm roasting it, I am doing this at the end. People go why is it so damn good? I go, because of MSG. Guess what? When people don't know it's in there they don't get a headache. This whole thing about Chinese food syndrome that started in the 1960s it's kind of hocus pocus. Some people can get a headache from too much salt. But no one says anything about headaches with salt. So the food scientists have sort of debunked the myth. And we've determined that this is okay. Just like the GMO foods. They have no negative effects either. And even Bill Nye the science guy is saying that GMOs are okay. So there is scientific fact and opinions are allowed to change. It's a beautiful thing. So, you can use it like salt during cooking with the exception of sweet things. We never want to put MSG on ice cream. It just doesn't really work with things that are super duper sweet. It works better with savory things because it is the savory enhancer. MSG on tomatoes, people say it's not so good. I think it's great. MSG with chicken is wonderful. MSG in vegetable stir frys, very very good. And on steak. By the way, MSG naturally occurring in the caramelized skin of steaks, it's true. So adding a little more what does it do? It give it a little bit of lift. My point is, if I poured this down my throat, I'm going to have issues. Of course I'm gonna have issues. But I'm also gonna have issues if I pour Maldon salt down my throat, am I not? So, everything in moderation. Including moderation. So that's that. It doesn't cause cancer. It doesn't give you ADD. It doesn't create brain damage. I'm no scientist but you know, I don't get a headache from it. I think it's delicious. It's a nice little je ne sais quoi to give you that je ne sais quoi. That means I don't know what.

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