Facts and Fallacies
MSG can improve the flavor of many, but not all foods.
The foods MSG works best with usually contain some protein already,
such as meats, poultry, and vegetable dishes. It also harmonizes
well with salty and sour tastes, making it effective in various
sauces and dressings. But it does little at all for sweet foods
such as cakes, pastries and puddings. Likewise, MSG does not
enhance recipes that are primarily made up of dairy foods. For
example, a custard, milkshake or white sauce wouldn't benefit
from the addition of MSG. However, a cream of vegetable soup
would be great with MSG since it contains some protein ingredients
MSG makes food taste saltier.
to popular belief, MSG is not a high-sodium ingredient. It does
contain some sodium, but it's less than 1/3 the amount contained
in an equal portion of regular table salt. Table salt contains
2,400 mg per teaspoon of sodium while MSG has only 700 mg of
sodium per teaspoon. In addition, most recipes do not call for
adding an entire teaspoon of MSG. Therefore, per serving, the
amount of sodium added to a dish when MSG is used is quite minimalcertainly
not enough to render a dish "salty." It will, however,
have a positive impact on the overall savory flavor of the dish.
The increased flavor level of the dish will be noticeable when
an MSG-enhanced dish is compared with one without added MSG.
MSG is a NOT a meat tenderizer.
Although monosodium glutamate is sometimes added to meat tenderizers,
MSG itself does not act as a meat tenderizer. It functions as
a flavor enhancer only, and that's why it's added to meat tenderizersfor
an extra flavor boost!
MSG can make bad food taste better.
No. It's a myth that using monosodium glutamate can "cover
up" bad-tasting food or allow a cook to substitute low
quality ingredients for high quality ones. MSG only enhances
the flavors that are already present; it doesn't add new ones
or mask "off" flavors. If the ingredients aren't great,
then the dish will not be great.