How did monosodium glutamate get such a bad rap? After a consumer crusade in the 60s, the compound has become synonymous with bad Chinese food, Doritos and processed cheese powder — but a new longform piece from Buzzfeed suggests we might have MSG all wrong. 50 years later, most of the original scientific criticisms of MSG have been disproven, but the stigma around the compound has yet to lift. Its root compound, glutamic acid, is the essence of the “umami” flavor crucial to many dishes, which has led a new generation of chefs like Momofuku’s David Chang to seek out natural compounds to give them the same oomph.
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Why are you so afraid of MSG?