MSG on my mind

Today I listened to a podcast about MSG. It’s is a very interesting food additive, and something I only knew very little about.

Doodle style drawing of the letters MSG inside the mouth of a person.
A silly doodle and a serious post.

The Food Programme (BBC Radio 4) is one of my favourite podcasts. While the baby was on her way to a nap in the garden, I listened to the first half of the episode “Pure umami: should we learn to love MSG?” from May 2021. And I was eager to hear the rest.

The thing that struck me the most was the points about racism and the stigma around MSG and Chinese food.

As I learned from the podcast, MSG is used in a wide variety of foods, such as chips (crisps). The science does not show that it’s unhealthy, even though many people think that it is. I’m one of the people who had an idea that “MSG is bad”, but I couldn’t tell you why I thought so. I also couldn’t tell you why I mostly related this to Chinese food without giving it a second thought.

Racism is a hard word for me to say or even type, but it’s something that I know I have to care more about than I have. Especially because it is so ingrained in things that I would never think of, because I’m so privileged that I don’t see it.

Besides an important wake-up call about racism, what I gained from the podcast is that I probably shouldn’t worry about MSG in restaurant food. I could even consider using it in my home cooking. A whole other issue addressed in the end of the episode is additives in processed foods. Long story short, things like MSG or sweeteners can make a product taste good even though it has very little nutrition. And that might be a bigger problem.

Did you know a lot about MSG already, or did you learn something reading this?

Please listen to the whole podcast episode if you’re interested, I probably didn’t do it justice!

Anyway, thanks for reading this, I know the post was more serious than my usual stuff. Maybe it’s because I’m a mother now, maybe it’s because of the state of the world. I can’t promise my next post won’t be about a fluffy bug that I saw, or something even more silly. But I’ll probably continue to write about things that are close to my heart, I hope you’re here for it.

MSG on my mind

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