This week sees the third of four instalments in my now somewhat epic series on the history of MSG – monosodium glutamate, the most underrated substance on earth.

We’ve seen how MSG was discovered, and how it took over the world. But why, when it was so successful by the 1960s, did MSG fall from grace? Why do people to this day avoid it, considering it to be harmful? How did “Chinese restaurant syndrome” come about?

The fascinating story goes back to a doctor’s note that struck at just the right – or wrong – time.

I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Friday,

This week’s article

The Story of MSG: Controversy

In the 1960s, MSG was poised to conquer the world. And yet, by the end of the decade, it had become public enemy number one. Why was that?

Click here to read the article »

This week’s one interesting link

A family’s disappearance rocked New Zealand. What came after stunned everyone.

A strange story from New Zealand, of a father who disappeared with his three children and what it says about Kiwi culture:

“It was a blustery September Sunday in 2021, and the Hilux pickup sat far down the gray sand in a remote cove on the wild west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The Māori men who noticed the car live in mobile homes and cabins up by the road, on ancestral land near Kiritehere Beach. The truck was parked below the high-tide line, facing the sea, and was nearly swamped by the waves pummeling the shore. The men found the keys, tucked under the driver’s-side floormat, and backed the car up the beach. They couldn’t help but notice empty child seats strapped into the back. If any kids had gotten close to the sea on a day like this, they were long gone.”