Pure umami: should we learn to love MSG?

May 16, 2021

Monosodium Glutamate is probably one of the most contentious ingredients in modern food. Increasingly there have been calls to tackle the stigma attached to it especially as this has been linked to Chinese restaurants and people with East Asian heritage. In this programme Leyla Kazim aims to demystify MSG. She looks into where it came from, what it is and how it became so demonised…

MSG finger art still
(Adam Ragusea)

MSG is neither terribly dangerous nor perfectly okay

Adam Ragusea, YouTube February 3, 2020.

The public health hysteria around MSG is just that… I’m pretty sure what I just said to you is true?

Momofuku Beef Noodle Soup (Dixie D. Vereen/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Putting the ‘mmm’ back in MSG

Sarah Elton, Maclean’s magazine, August 16, 2016.

On hip restaurant menus and recipes, a maligned additive is making a comeback…

Saoirse Ronan and Beanie Feldstein in Lady Bird (Photo via Universal).

Lady Bird Shows that it’s Okay for Women to Be Hungry

Ruby Lott-Lavigna, Munchies February 26, 2018.

Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated film tells the story of Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson, a 17-year-old who takes—and eats—exactly what she wants..

Image via Vox Media

“Making Sense: The Umami Mama”

March 23, 2022

For thousands of years, there have been four basic tastes recognized across cultures. But thanks to Kumiko Ninomiya (a.k.a. the Umami Mama), scientists finally accepted a fifth. So could there be even more?

Ajinomoto c. 1929 (Credit: Science History Institute)

On the Origin of the Word ‘Umami

Johanna Mayer, Science Friday, August 14, 2018.

There’s science behind deliciousness…

Choy Wong in West Philadelphia (Nina Feldman/WHYY)

Cutting salt in Chinese takeout to curb heart disease

Nina Feldman, The PULSE WHYY Philadelphia October 11, 2018.

Philadelphia has a sodium problem. Almost 40 percent of all adults, and over half of African American adults have high blood pressure…

Animation via TED

What is MSG, and is it actually bad for you?

Sarah E. Tracy, September 2021

In 1968, Dr. Robert Ho Man Kwok felt ill after dinner at a Chinese restaurant and wrote a letter to a medical journal connecting his symptoms to MSG. His letter would change the world’s relationship with MSG, inspiring international panic, biased science and sensationalist journalism …