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Re: Kombu

Hi Marion-

>  What is kombu?

A kind of seaweed used in many japanese soups. It contains quite a bit of
glutamic acid, which is a cousin of MSG that tends to appear in nature
(even in your brain!). Kombu is the plant from which MSG was originally
isolated, but kombu shouldn't give you problems unless mushrooms or wheat
gluten do (both are major natural sources of glutamic acid). MSG is much
more concentrated . Some people say kombu makes beans digest better, though
I haven't read of any scientific basis for this.

>Where do you get it?

Natural food store or Japanese food store, among other seaweeds. It usually
comes in plastic bags, with maybe 12 pieces in the bag. The pieces are long
and narrow, maybe 8" x 2", kind of a dull dark green, and fairly thick and
stiff. Use a whole one in a big pot of soup, half in a smaller one. Many
people rinse them off first, because they tend to be pretty salt-encrusted.

>The soup recipie sounded good but will it be good if I
>don't have a piece of kombu?

It's pretty traditional in miso soup, but in other places it's more of a
nice flavoring, I think.