Make your inbox more delicious!



Get The Sporkful newsletter and you'll never miss a podcast, video, or recipe.



Our newsletter goes out every week or two. We'll never share your email address.

This episode is available in Stitcher Premium.

Sign up for Stitcher Premium:


  • - Get special access to our back catalog (hundreds of episodes!)
  • - Hear new shows one day early and commercial free
  • - Support our work in the process

Use promo code SPORKFUL for $5 off the annual plan. Sign up today and thank you!

This Podcast Contains MSG

Filed under //                                                         
Posted by

Jan 08, 2018

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts. (And please subscribe!)

If you go to Dan's house for dinner, one ingredient will almost certainly be on the menu: monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG.

But he probably won't tell you about it because people FREAK OUT about MSG -- even though glutamate is in everything from tomatoes to breast milk to YOUR BODY RIGHT NOW. It's basically just umami, that savory flavor that takes any food to another level.

"I think that there’s been so much crap built around the condemnation of of MSG," says cookbook author Andrea Nguyen, who sometimes finishes her homemade pho with MSG. "People have so many fears about it."

2161524841_95fbd6ce65_z

It all started in 1968, when Dr. Robert Kwok wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine describing some strange symptoms he had after eating Chinese restaurant food.

Dr. Kwok suggested that maybe it was the MSG in the food, and he coined the term Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. Tons of people came forward with similar complaints, and the thing just snowballed.

Fifty years later, people are still scared to eat MSG -- even though science hasn't proven that it's actually harmful.

"They took enormous amounts of MSG and injected it under the skin of mice to see if problems occurred, and it did," says Dr. Aaron Carroll, the author of several books that debunk myths about food and health.

"But no one is suggesting that human beings should inject huge amounts of MSG under their skin," Dr. Carroll adds.

Andrea_Nguyen-making_dumplings-credit_Penny_De_Los_SantosENHANCED

This week on The Sporkful we're exploring the case against MSG.

We'll dig into the science, and we'll delve into the role that race and class have played in spreading misconceptions about MSG.

"I do think there’s a slight racist edge to it," Nguyen (above in her kitchen) says. "When people don’t understand something...all of the sudden it becomes exotic, mysterious, and easy to attack."

Listen in to the episode to hear the full conversation. Plus, Dan and food writer Kevin Pang tell us how to use MSG to make the best Bloody Mary you’ve ever tasted.

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts. (And please subscribe!)

Connect with me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

Today's sponsors:

Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:

- "Bandstand" by Jack Ventimiglia

- "Comin' For A Change" by Stephen Clinton Sullivan

- "Clean" by JT Bates

- "Hound Dog" by Jason Mickelson

Photos: Dan Pashman, FlickrCC/Simon Lieschke, and courtesy of Kevin Pang, Andrea Nguyen, and Aaron Carroll

Filed under //                                                         

comments powered by Disqus