I just reread the label of my favorite mac-n-cheese alternative, the Country Cheddar Bowl by Amy's Kitchen, and happened to catch something on the list of ingredients that I didn't recognize — nigari. In parentheses it says "magnesium chloride, a natural firming agent," but that use of the word "natural" didn't make me feel any better.
I trust food from Amy's Kitchen because it's made with such wholesome ingredients, so nigari can't be bad for me, right? I decided to do a little research. To find out what I discovered,
Magnesium chloride is a salt that's highly soluble in water. In Japan, it's known as nigari, derived from the Japanese word for "bitter." It's a white powder made from seawater after the sodium chloride has been removed and the water evaporated. It's an important coagulant used when making tofu or soy milk and is also found in baby formula. Well, that's a relief. I knew Amy wouldn't steer me wrong.