Stop avoiding MSG: The umami flavor you’re too afraid to embrace

If you love umami-rich foods like beef, kimchi and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, you need to add this long-blacklisted ingredient to your pantry—MSG. Yes, the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate, according to food director of Bon Appetit and author Carla Lalli Music, is great on everything from cucumber and melon salads to fried rice.

“It adds texture and it also adds this last little layer of flavor,” Music said on “Salon Talks.” Music has several recipes that include MSG in her new cookbook “Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook,”. She addressed the backlash that MSG received throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

“You do a little more research and realize that MSG is a synthetic. It is a synthetic additive that replicates a naturally occurring thing in your tasters, your glutamate receptor,” Music said.

“If your sensitive to it, then you're sensitive to it, but most people aren't, and they think they are.”

Check out the full episode to watch Music describe how to create a kitchen you’ll be excited to cook in, and what it’s like cooking alongside celebrities for “Carla Makes…” video series. For more food-centric episodes, visit our “Salon Talks” Food playlist.

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