Saturday, 23 April 2011

MSG - Monosodium Glutamate or Maximum Salty Grub?

As soon as I walk into a Chinese restaurant that uses MSG in their cooking, I can feel it. I don't know if it has a smell that wafts through the air to greet me like a unwelcome pimple or if the ambiance of aged decor just makes me expect it, but for some reason I always know it's going to appear in my food when I walk in.

This tasty additive found me today at lunch in a Victoria BC restaurant and I was not impressed. Nine hours and at least a litre of water later, I still feel dehydrated and uncomfortable.

It's not like a bar where they serve complimentary salty nuts to encourage an increase liquor sales. I mean it was lunchtime, and even if it was dinner, the drinking and driving laws in BC have increased to barely allow even one alcoholic beverage before driving. 

MSG's marketed as a flavour enhancer but what does that really mean? Other than what I know about salt bringing out flavour in food, I can't tell you. So why not just use salt?

There are obvious concerns about MSG being associated with migraines and obesity so seriously, why use it? Both of these things make people hole up inside their homes either from pain or shame. They do not  make people want to go out with their friends to enjoy a meal at a restaurant. 

So does this mean that it's delivery business that the restaurants are after? I've considered this, but I'm not sure that's it either because delivery for one can't be very economical for a business. 

The only conclusion I can come up with is that these restaurants just don't care about issues that MSG might cause. And they believe that with all the prepared grocery store meals combined with meals at restaurants, people won't notice that they are dehydrated or gaining weight. MSG makes food taste good so people will keep coming back. 

It's a sad conclusion that I've made, but luckily one that can be prevented. 

Get cooking people. Buy fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat. Season food yourself and you'll be surprised at how good you look and feel. You won't feel the urge to consume the MSG flavoured foods that once took up a place in your diet and you'll even save money. Probably enough money to buy a new wardrobe to show off your svelte figure.

But if you do want to indulge in a little Chinese feast, please promise me that you'll stay away from all restaurants with dusty carved murals, oversized red sun dyed paper lanterns, and peeling gold embossed wall paper. Choose a modern styled place -- just to be safe. 

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