BiologyChemistryFood

“Breaking Bland:” the Story of MSG

A while back, I wrote an post about the much-maligned, flavor-enhancing food additive MSG, its history, how it tastes, and where our unsupported concept of its harmful nature comes from.

msg molecule

If my post whet your appetite, you might be interested in an article from John Mahoney posted to Buzzfeed a couple weeks ago. “Breaking Bland: The Notorious MSG’s Unlikely Formula for Success” looks at modern chefs developing their own glutamate-rich condiments and uses this as a jumping-off point to delve into the scientific, social, and culinary background of MSG. It’s a long piece, but well-worth the read if you find this stuff interesting.

Featured image from the article

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Anne S

Anne S

Anne Sauer is an atheist with an appetite for science, good food, and making connections between the two. She is currently pursuing her MBA in Sustainable Management at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. Her favorite foods are salted caramel ice cream and chicken tikka masala. You can find her on twitter @aynsavoy.

2 Comments

  1. September 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    One interesting thing: human’s “protein” taste (which is what umami basically is), is limited to the amino acid glutamate. Other mammals, however, are not so limited. Rats, for example can taste all 20 amino acids.

  2. September 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for the interesting tidbit, @TheBlackCat! I didn’t know this, but it makes sense, given that our other senses are also limited compared other species.

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