New Condiment Tastes Like Meat (Apr, 1931)

This substance is used all over the place, but is more notable for when it is not used. All you have to do is look at the menu of any Chinese restaurant from the last twenty years.

New Condiment Tastes Like Meat

A WHITE powder that tastes like the juice of red meat yet can be eaten by the strictest vegetarian, since it has no trace of meat in it but is made from the gluten of flour, is announced by A. D. Little, Inc., Boston chemical engineers, as increasing in popularity in Japan and China and as now being introduced into the United States. It is a chemical called sodium glutamate made by boiling gluten from wheat flour for hours with strong hydrochloric acid, neutralizing with soda and allowing the resulting salt to crystallize. There is obtained a fine white powder resembling baking soda which keeps well and may be used in an ordinary shaker like salt.

  1. Hirudinea says: April 27, 201112:12 pm

    No MSG!

  2. Dave Hurley says: April 27, 201112:37 pm

    Given most vegetarians’ secret cravings for the the “juice of red meat,” I think this product would be quite marketable today.

    Unfortunately however, this would obviously be the very antithesis of a “gluten-free” product. Given the rampant epidemic of Celiac Disease amongst trendy eaters over the last couple of years, that would be an issue.

    Of course I still just squeeze red meat juice over most of my dishes, but I’m not a vegetarian.

  3. Jari says: April 27, 201112:46 pm

    Dave: Excerpt from wiki, that Charlie linked: “It was once made predominantly from wheat gluten, but is now made mostly from bacterial fermentation; it is acceptable for coeliacs following a gluten-free diet”

  4. Dave Hurley says: April 27, 201112:53 pm

    I apologize for my irresponsible, ill-researched and flippant remarks above. Clearly, vegetarian suffers of Celiac Disease can indulge in the the joys of red meat juice like the rest of us because of this fine product. I regret the post.

  5. Jari says: April 27, 20111:36 pm

    Dave: It’s easy to mix up Glutamate with Glutamine. Also not a vegetarian. Medium for me, please. With onions.

  6. John Savard says: April 27, 20112:52 pm

    And here I thought I read somewhere that MSG was made from some kind of seaweed.

    Everything had a beginning, and since the taste of meat is appealing, but meat is expensive, a seasoning that makes a little meat go a long way naturally had an appeal in the Depression – as with sugars, which have substitutes that have had their own problems, while we like them, and they have useful food value, we eat more than we need, so a substitute doesn’t have to mean that we would starve ourselves.

    Of course, recently, it’s been found that MSG causes problems for some people with asthma, even if it’s harmless for people with celiac disease.

  7. Stan says: April 27, 20118:30 pm

    I stay away from MSG. I was having migraines often where I hadn’t had them before so I went to a doctor. He asked if my diet has changed and I told him I moved next to an excellent Chinese restaurant and he said it could be the MSG. They did put MSG in their food so I stopped going there and the migraines stopped soon after I stopped eating there. I ate at another Chinese place that did not use MSG just to see if that was the deal, not very scientific I know but no migraines from Chinese food without MSG. Anywho, I always ask if MSG is used, no matter where I eat, lots of places use it, not just Chinese places. People say I’m a loon but I hate migraines and ever since I started reading labels for MSG and it’s other names I have not had any.

  8. Mike says: April 28, 20111:25 am

    It is gluten free. “Boiling for hours with strong hydrochloric acid” do the trick.

  9. Charlene says: April 28, 201111:02 am

    Dave, I hope you’re not saying that celiacs are making up their condition for attention. Try living with it for a while and see what kind of “attention” you get – nothing but sneering, vicious contempt from arrogant, self-important (mainly) youngsters who think any invisible disability that doesn’t personally affect them is fake. Oh, and sabotaging your food to “prove” that your condition is fake so they can feel superior to you. Three days later as you’re pooping out your intestinal lining in agony they still don’t believe it, because it hurts their poor egos to admit they’re wrong, and their egos are more important than your life is.

    You know what happened to people with celiac sprue before modern diagnoses became possible? They died undiagnosed, usually decades earlier than they should have.

    Sorry Charlie, but I really get steamed at these trendy “all food restrictions are fake! and for attention!” people. No, they’re not. Living with food restrictions is a pain in the ass.

  10. Tim says: April 28, 20114:51 pm

    Interesting, ‘cos “boiling for hours with strong hydrochloric acid” is how I like my meat prepared.
    Really tenderizes the gristly bits.

  11. John says: April 28, 20115:05 pm

    Tim: Nice to see that you’re paying attention.

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