Mono Sodium Glutamate
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(MSG C5H8NNaO4-H2O) is widely used a flavor enhancer.
It was originally extracted
from seaweed but now is generally made from plants such as sugarbeets or cassava. In recent years,
MSG has gotten a bad rap and is often denounced as a "chemical".
It's strange that vinegar isn't
denounced as a chemical even though it's made by a similar process.
Like sugar, MSG makes interesting patterns when dissolved and allowed to dry undisturbed. Under
superstage lighting (below) monosodium glutamate crystals look like little jewels.