Wednesday, March 5, 2008

There's MSG in my Goldfish?

Not that I allow myself to keep things like Goldfish in the house (okay, they may enter the house, but they certainly don't stick around long enough to be considered anything like "pantry food"), but this article by food writer Julia Moskin of the New York Times made me wonder:

Do I have MSG-laden foodstuffs in my house?

A quick inventory of the fridge:

Okay, so far, no MSG. ...but I'm not giving up that easily.

I've read Ruth Ozeki's My Year of Meats and Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilmemma, I saw Super Size Me, I keep Marion Nestle's Food Politics bedside (okay, haven't read Skinny Bitch, but it's on the list)...I've been vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, had whole-foods-only-itis, cut out wheat and soy, even gave up my delicious and deadly nightshades for a while.

But MSG? I didn't think so.

Do I suffer from an ongoing nourishment identity crisis? There's enough here for a book - forthcoming...haha - but my non-medical opinion would definitely be YES. There's a reason why, after growing up eating frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets, PopTarts (ick, ick!) big-box cereals, non-organic dairy (skim milk, string cheese), green apples, and - the curveball, folks - broccoli, I was so drawn to the dietary habits of this nation of thin, happy, well-fed wonders. Heck, I even dated one for a year and seriously considered running away with him permanently to his Mediterranean isle and subsisting solely on ch√Ętaigne until death do us part.

Mom, I love you, but I have not inherited from you any ritual of the table, any sense of balance, nor anything close to a week's worth of healthy meal options. You have shared with me a scant few recipes (some that I plan on showcasing here - thanks, Mama). Or perhaps you were until now totally ignorant of my duplications, as I've always been one to discretely observe and copy - the highest form of flattery, right?

The worst advice to give an anxious, depressed 19-year old, full of despair and too many brownies after breaking up with her first real soul mate when asked about how to lose weight:

"Why don't you keep a food diary, dear?"

Baaaaad idea.

Yes, I got past the legal voting age without ever having to worry about dieting thanks in no small part to a racing metabolism and a strict regimen of soccer, doodling, and oversleeping - aka missing the bus and having to run 1.5 miles to get to school on time. Anyway, I'll save my so typically American tale of dietary navel gazing for another post.

In the meantime, I mean to root out and destroy any hiding MSG agent. Note to self: beware of glutamate in its hidden forms: hydrolyzed soy proteins, autolyzed yeast.

Further inquiry:



Wait a second.
"Flavoring"? ...What's that?

...this may be the closest we'll get to MSG for now, but don't be dismayed; I've got a hunch that agent MSG will show his face sooner or later in my neighborhood.


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