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Monosodium glutamate is found in all kinds of foods, but is unfairly connected to ‘Chinese food syndrome’. Growing up, MiMi Aye’s family dinner table was always set with three shakers: salt, pepper — and monosodium glutamate (MSG). “It’s part of my secret weapons when I cook,” said Aye, a Burmese food writer and cookbook author based in the U.K. “It’s not, like, necessarily my favourite thing, but it’s really useful. And I hate that it’s been demonized to the extent that if someone does use it, they get brigaded” with negative comments online, she told Unforked host Samira Mohyeddin. Aye is part of a growing chorus of culinary voices making the case that the ingredient — itself historically stigmatized, which can often be traced to anti-Chinese racism — is a game changer when used correctly.

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