TITLE

'That Won-Ton Soup Headache': The Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, MSG and the Making of American Food, 1968-1980

AUTHOR(S)
Mosby, Ian
PUB. DATE
April 2009
SOURCE
Social History of Medicine;Apr2009, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p133
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This paper examines the 'discovery' of the Chinese restaurant syndrome in 1968 and subsequent reactions by the medical community, scientists, public health authorities and the general public to dangers posed by the common food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) and by Chinese cooking more generally. It argues that Chinese restaurant syndrome was, at its core, a product of a racialised discourse that framed much of the scientific, medical and popular discussion surrounding the condition. This particular debate brought to the surface a number of widely held assumptions about the strangely 'exotic', 'bizarre' and 'excessive' practices associated with Chinese cooking which, ultimately, meant that few of those studying the Chinese restaurant syndrome would question the ethnic origins of the condition. 'That Won-Ton Soup Headache': The Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, MSG and the Making of American Food, 1968-1980.
ACCESSION #
39350999

 

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