Monosodium glutamate is eaten without problems in many countries, yet in the West there is a strange cultural aversion to it. James Wong investigates what’s going on
24 February 2021
DURING my master’s degree, I lived high up in the mountains of rural Ecuador, studying the practices of traditional Andean medicine. I was fascinated by beliefs of culturally specific syndromes, like susto, thought to be caused by spiritual attack, resulting in insomnia, depression and anorexia, or mal de ojo, in which a stare from another person can cause severe fever, diarrhoea and even death in children.
What always stood out when I asked about the basis of …