It might be a major diet component in the coming decades…but for NOW, we’re just going to discuss Kombu – a dried kelp that contains “umami” (specifically glutamic acid but what do you care?!?). If you missed that post look it up!
Kombu is used in Japanese (and my) cooking to enhance umami in many dishes – it can be found in Asian markets and these days quite a few grocery stores in dried form. Kombu is also a vegetarian source of the brain function enhancing Omega 3 fatty acid.
Just drop one 2×2 square per quart of liquid into soups and stews (think vegetable soup, tomato sauce) and pull it out when the liquid begins to simmer. You don’t want to forget it- bitter compounds form at a full boil. But you WILL add that indefinable “what is IN this that makes it so rich and tasty?!?” vibe if you pull it out at the simmer! If you liked this tidbit you can get one weekly here!
Monosodium Glutamate got lots of attention starting in the 60’s, when “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” was researched and MSG was named the culprit. Some, but not all people don’t react well to MSG, even though it is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies (with the largest concentration of it in our nervous system). MSG is the sodium salt of Glutamic Acid, and it naturally occurs in mushrooms, seaweed, and wheat gluten, as well.
Most manufacturers and restaurants are msg (added) “free” these days…but it is NOT reason for a hissy fit if you feel like your sinuses are swelling or you start sneezing and you find out that something you ate contained a little bit of MSG, or had naturally occurring MSG in it. In fact, salt and sugar are WAY more dangerous for you than MSG. Chances are, you’ve been consuming naturally occurring msg your whole life and have never felt a thing! Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering does not add MSG to anything we make, but we do love our mushrooms, our seaweed, and our bread. 🙂 Please enjoy this pic of our Boudin Stuffed Mushrooms above!