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Very interesting thing I found about the orgin of MSG in The Japanese Kitchen by Hiroko Shimbo page 62.

"Recent scientific studies show that kelp also contains chemicals that fight against high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even some forms of cancer. To extract these constituents, soak kelp in a small amount of water overnight. The next day you will find that the water has developed a somewhat slimy texture. This liquid contains beneficial chemicals that lower blood pressure and the risk of certain diseases. According to Japanese folk medicine, people suffering from high blood pressure should drink a little kelp water every day. This liquid is also effective against constipation.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a Japanese researcher studied stock made with kelp to determine the key chemical that both provides a delicious flavor and enhances the flavors of other ingredients. His investigation revealed the presence in kelp of natural glutamic acid, and led eventually to the production of synthetic monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a flavor enhancer. Unfortunately, this synthetic product does not provide the natural nutrients of kelp and may cause allergic symptoms in some people."

Hope this helps anyone who was wondering what MSG was and how it ended up at restaurants.

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