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Gretchen, et al, from what I understand kombu is a source of glutamate, not
necessarily MSG.  It's basically just seaweed that releases, from my
understanding of it, a flavor enhancer which is related to the refined MSG.
 But, again, from my understanding of it, kombu is not the same as refined

I avoid most prepared food because so blasted much of it contains "natural
flavorings," which is one of the phrases the FDA permits for MSG.

I've not been following the thread, but I use kombu when cooking beans.  A
stick or two seems to really bring out the flavor in pinto and kidney

Hope that helps.

Bev Kurtin
"Bev's Cooking and Eating  Show"
(A non-copyrighted weekly column)