Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about monosodium glutamate:

Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate and MSG, is a sodium salt of the non-essential amino glutamic acid. It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavour enhancer. It has the HS code 29224220 and the E number E621. Trade names of monosodium glutamate include Ajinomoto, Vetsin, and Accent. It used to be predominantly made from wheat gluten, but is now mostly made from bacterial fermentation; it is acceptable for celiacs following a gluten-free diet.[1][2][3][4]

Although traditional Asian cuisine had often used seaweed extract, which contains high concentrations of glutamic acid, MSG was not isolated until 1907. MSG was subsequently patented by Ajinomoto Corporation of Japan in 1909. In its pure form, it appears as a white crystalline powder; when immersed in water or saliva, it rapidly dissociates into sodium cations and glutamate anions (glutamate is the anionic form of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid).

(The last time I quoted from Wikipedia I wound up in quite a bit of trouble, so I'm hoping history won't repeat itself....)

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) seems as if it ought to be a rather odd topic of conversation on a blog written by a curmudgeonly old, irascible Army Chaplain. And indeed it is. (Though, to be fair, given my molecularneurobiologistic leanings, it might, in fact, not be such a surprise, were one to ponder the matter for any significant length of time....)

All that notwithstanding, I've been thinking about MSG since last night, however, and figured I needed to mention it here. Did you realize that in addition to representing 'monosodium glutamate', MSG also abbreviates "Master Sergeant" in the Army?

As soon as the Army cuts the orders, SFC McG will become MSG McG, since we found out yesterday that he is #1 on the promotion list to Master Sergeant. This means that in the Guard there's only one higher rank one might achieve as an Enlisted Soldier, so soon-to-be MSG McG is among the best of the best.

Since there's a slot available, he's eligible to be promoted as soon as the paperwork gets done.

I just hope the Army makes this happen while he and I are still here Down Range, so that we can have an appropriate celebration to which his myriad friends over here will be invited.

It has a nice ring to it.

Congratulations, my friend! (And "Mrs. MSG McG" scans even better than does "Mrs. SFC McG," so congratulations to her, too!)

Easter blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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Anonymous said...

Congratulations MSG McG!

With the guidon,stetson and authorized gold spurs, does a horse or other mount come with the promotion?
MAJ Bill3

Robin in Ohio said...

Hurrah, MSG McG!! Our hats are off to you!

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