12/5/17 – MSG


Welcome to Five Course Trivia! Five days a week, we’ll post five questions about something from the culinary world, from soup to nuts and all dishes in between.

We had a F/D question not too long ago, so let’s go to the tape:

LearnedLeague precedent (LL75, MD12) – AccentSazón, and Ve-Tsin are trade names for what chemical compound, which was first produced commercially in Japan as Aji-no-moto (“essence of taste”)?

I got this right. I know that MSG is short for monosodium glutamate which makes it a chemical compound, and I know that Asian food famously supposedly contains MSG in it. With that, I went MSG, and got it. I’m now 4 for 5 this season.

However, I genuinely don’t know too much more about MSG. In order to help both you and me out, here are some more questions about MSG. Enjoy!

1. The purpose of putting MSG into food is to increase the meaty, savory taste of what fifth taste, whose name comes from the Japanese for “pleasant savory taste”?

2. MSG was first isolated in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda, who was trying to create the savory taste of what seaweed, popular in soups? Seen below are dried versions of this seaweed, while it is also served in sashimi or pickled. A tea you can make with this seaweed is coincidently also the name of a tea drink that has nothing to do with this seaweed.

Question 2

3. A 1968 letter to the New England Journal of Medicine coined what three-word condition, which says that consumers of MSG will experience headaches and other pains after eating foods that contain MSG? Various research since then has shown that this condition is mostly a mindset and not an actual symptom.


4. Seen here are what dehydrated polyhedrons, derived from the French for broth, and are made with salt, hydrogenated fat, and MSG?

Question 4

5. Glutamic acid is one of the twenty official members of what scientific group?



1. Umami
2. Kombu
3. Chinese restaurant syndrome
4. Bouillon cube
5. Amino acids

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