Chrissy Teigen's Mom Always Keeps These Spices In Her Purse

Obviously, Chrissy Teigen's mama, Pepper Thai (née Vilailuck Teigen) has a thing for spicy food. She carries around hot peppers in her purse (via Grub Street). Pepper, who always wants things spiced to 10 on a scale of one to five, used to add chile pepper to her spaghetti lunches while working at Porky's, her ex-husband's tavern in Washington state, in the 1980s. That's how she got her nickname. "Everything I ate was spicy! Especially back when I was younger,"  Teigen told Vanity Fair. She'd also add fish sauce. But neither hot peppers nor fish sauce is her secret ingredient.

Neither is chicken bouillon, although Pepper Thai travels with that, at all times, too (in case, for example, the soups she orders at restaurants are devoid of flavor, something that has happened at least once). Neither are instant noodles, despite the fact that Chrissy's mom also carts those around with her when traveling — "just in case I can't eat anything," she explained to People. Hot peppers, fish sauce, chicken bouillon, and instant noodles are all important to Pepper Teigen's life, but the one ingredient that Teigen can't live without is ... MSG. 

Inside Pepper Teigen's love affair with MSG

Pepper Teigen loves MSG so much that she's started an Instagram campaign to convince people that it's safe to eat. "People have myths about it over here, and I want to help people have open minds and learn about it more," she explained to People. "It's safe and it adds flavor and taste. It's my secret ingredient. When I'm cooking for my family or for people visiting, I always use it. It's in my purse, it's in my bag, it's in my coat." 

Teigen's not kidding. Nearly everything she cooks gets MSG,  from her pasta sauce ("to give it that sweet and savory flavor," she told Vanity Fair) to her scalloped potatoes, (to add a bit of umami, she told Vogue). "Dinner guests will tell me, 'oh, I don't do MSG', and then they take home leftovers of my MSG-seasoned meal," Teigen explained (via AP). "It just makes everything taste better. People should know the truth." 

As both Pepper Thai and The Washington Post point out, MSG probably isn't bad for you (unless, as one scientific study did, you inject it directly into mice brains). In fact, says Discover Magazine, both the FDA and the JECFA (a scientific committee made up of the Food and Agriculture Organization and The United National World Health Organization), consider MSG to be generally safe. So, go ahead, do as Pepper Teigen does, and get a bottle of MSG for your purse.