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    Default What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Whenever I watch a cooking video or read a recipe from the US they almost always specify kosher salt for the recipes. However that's not really a thing anywhere else to my knowledge (except in jewish kitchens I guess). Is there a particular reason for that that anyone can think of?
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Kosher salt has nothing to do with it being kosher or not. Basically all salt is kosher. Kosher salt has large, irregular grains:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosher_salt

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    When used for finishing salt or garnishing, kosher salt is considered more visually appealing and easier to taste due to the larger flakes; it helps your diner identify the dish as already seasoned, so they're less likely to dump another tablespoon in there before they ever actually taste it. It's also easier to see and to distribute by hand, which is helpful if your seasoning directions are 'apply a generous pinch of salt' rather than 'mix in 1 teaspoon of salt.'

    I think at some point some influential chef/recipe book writer/tv personality/whatever tried to convince people it tasted better, too, or was 'healthier' because it was 'chemical free' compared to iodine-fortified table salt, but I'm pretty sure that's nonsense.

    (There is some taste difference between sea salts from different locations with different mineral balances and salts mined from various different places in the world, but that doesn't have a lot to do with the grind/shape of the crystals, which is what kosher salt is usually referring to.)

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Kosher salt also has very thin grains that stick to moist things well(which is the main reason I usually use it, since it's the same price as normal salt).
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    There is no american fetish. There is simply the way we do things, and the wrong way.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Ok, I have now learned way more than I ever wanted to know about salt... Not sure why it took me that long to see what Kenji had to say on the subject (http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/03/a...sher-salt.html).

    That explains why it might be better to use it for some things and since it's pretty much never worse to use it people default to kosher salt for consistency. That makes sense.

    But my main point was why does that seem to be an american thing? I looked around on food sites from different countries. Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ransay use sea salt, french websites just say salt and sometimes finish with fleur de sel (which is amazing on grilled meats and stews btw), same for Ricardo, who is THE food guy here in quebec. If I spoke more languages then english and french I'd look at other cultures too.
    Last edited by thorgrim29; 2017-12-18 at 09:00 PM.
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    I'm wondering if some of that is just the american tendency to grab foodstuffs from any of our various immigrant populations and incorporate them into our diet. The average american has no concept of preserving the purity of their cuisine from outside influences - if it tastes good, dish it up!
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    I'm wondering if some of that is just the american tendency to grab foodstuffs from any of our various immigrant populations and incorporate them into our diet. The average american has no concept of preserving the purity of their cuisine from outside influences - if it tastes good, dish it up!
    That is probably universal. when we moved to Norway some 30 years ago, tex-mex food was unknown to people in general, nevermind Indian, Thai or whatever. Even pizza and hamburgers were only a few years old. Our first year here someone asked my mother if she'd ever had rice for dinner. Nowadays the concept of 'Friday tacos' is A Thing, and getting foods other than cabbage, potatoes and carrots (cauliflower and broccoli only in season) is actually possible.
    The one exception to the explosion of variety is Christmas dinner, which is on the whole intensely traditional.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by thorgrim29 View Post
    But my main point was why does that seem to be an american thing? I looked around on food sites from different countries. Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ransay use sea salt
    Isn't sea salt pretty much the same thing, e.g. salt with larger grains than regular? We just have a different name for it, which is also why you'll never see Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay using an eggplant--because they'd both call that vegetable an aubergine.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    I'm wondering if some of that is just the american tendency to grab foodstuffs from any of our various immigrant populations and incorporate them into our diet. The average american has no concept of preserving the purity of their cuisine from outside influences - if it tastes good, dish it up!
    "Preserving their cuisine from outside influences" isn't even a thing. No culture, at any time or anywhere, has done that. Hell, what you consider "European" or even "Indian" food wouldn't even exist without the deviations you cite. Tomatoes in anything outside of Mexican food (itself heavily influenced by...not Mexican food). Nope. Those were an American thing. How about anything spicy? All those curries people like because of the heat? Guess what. Wouldn't exist without mixing of cultural food and foods not native to your area. Hot peppers didn't exist outside of the America's until the Spanish took them back to Europe. Hungarian Goulash? Nope, not something that existed before the 1500's.

    So when you say "purity of cuisine" you're just buying into a meme. There is no pure cuisine.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    ... Nowadays the concept of 'Friday tacos' is A Thing, ...
    Uh no, don't you know it's "Taco Tuesday". How could you even have a Friday Tacos thing? It doesn't rhyme!

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    "Preserving their cuisine from outside influences" isn't even a thing. No culture, at any time or anywhere, has done that. ...
    So when you say "purity of cuisine" you're just buying into a meme. There is no pure cuisine.
    Don't tell France that...
    http://www.cooksinfo.com/french-bread-law-1993
    https://www.champagne.fr/en/terroir-...ne-appellation
    https://books.google.com/books?id=6r...20laws&f=false

    Or Germany... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinheitsgebot

    Maybe they ren't effective, but nations have and continue to try and do exactly what you say isn't even a thing.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    Uh no, don't you know it's "Taco Tuesday". How could you even have a Friday Tacos thing? It doesn't rhyme!


    Don't tell France that...
    http://www.cooksinfo.com/french-bread-law-1993
    https://www.champagne.fr/en/terroir-...ne-appellation
    https://books.google.com/books?id=6r...20laws&f=false

    Or Germany... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinheitsgebot

    Maybe they ren't effective, but nations have and continue to try and do exactly what you say isn't even a thing.
    You don't need laws to make people do what they are already inclined to do. There is no need for a "stick gum under things" law, or an "eat too much on Holidays" law. The existence of such laws instead shows there is a sizable portion who are not inclined to do that.
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    It's gluten free

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    You don't need laws to make people do what they are already inclined to do. There is no need for a "stick gum under things" law, or an "eat too much on Holidays" law. The existence of such laws instead shows there is a sizable portion who are not inclined to do that.
    But in democracies, you at least need a sizeable amount of support to enact such laws. So, at least some people in some countries want their to be cultural purity in their foods.

    Yes, over long enough times and with trade and exchange like we have today, such concepts are hard to maintain and of, imo, dubious value. But, cultural purity in many things, food, languages, traditions are just some of the things that some people try to enforce.

    I'm not arguing right or wrong, but to say it doesn't exist is not accurate.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    One cooking channel on Youtube, Binging With Babbish, specified that kosher salt's texture makes it easier to 'pinch' so you can feel and see how much salt is going into your food. I can't quantify how 'good' he is, but his videos are entertaining at least.

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    Last edited by No brains; 2017-12-19 at 11:30 PM.
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    Uh no, don't you know it's "Taco Tuesday". How could you even have a Friday Tacos thing? It doesn't rhyme!
    Norway likes to do things its own, often wrong, way. Like showing Dinner for one around Christmas rather than New Years.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    Or Germany... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinheitsgebot

    Maybe they ren't effective, but nations have and continue to try and do exactly what you say isn't even a thing.
    They're not even the same thing. You're conflating two things. Warkitty is talking about the "purity" of a cuisine in the sense that...you don't get your Texan food in with your Mexican food and then get Tex-Mex. As an example. Food Purity laws, as you'll note on all your examples, was a (and continues to be) a quality control issue and..as the German Laws...methods to control prices of things used in a variety of dishes. They have very little, if anything, to do with trying to fend of foreign influence.

    They ALSO only relate to people trying to SELL food in market. Not people in restaurants or their own home kitchen.
    Last edited by Razade; 2017-12-20 at 03:37 AM.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    Except that wasn't about keeping German beer "pure" from foreign ingredients, it was about keeping brewers from using all the food crops for beer and making bread super expensive, and regulating breweries in general. It even says so in the article you linked.
    Last edited by PersonMan; 2017-12-20 at 03:40 AM.
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    Except that wasn't about keeping German beer "pure" from foreign ingredients, it was about keeping brewers from using all the food crops for beer and making bread super expensive, and regulating breweries in general. It even says so in the article you linked.
    None of them actually have anything to do with keeping food "pure.

    The first one, the bread one, only has something to do with what can classify as a certain type of bread for sale to keep a consistant and easily marketable commodity.

    The second one is about how Champagne is protected. The name that is. And how to make Champagne. The issue is that that "law" doesn't actually effect everyone. Americans can make Champagne any way they want and still call it Champagne for example. It's an interesting story actually.

    The third one isn't even a purity law. It's a Food Saftey regulations.


    So yeah. None of the ones linked actually have anything to do with anything I was talking about in reference to Warkitty.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by thorgrim29 View Post
    Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ransay use sea salt
    Kosher salt also isn't really a thing over here (I'm British, just like Oliver and Ramsay). In the house I'm currently living in we have two kinds of salt, table salt for salt shakers and baking and sea salt for cooking and for salt grinders (yes, we use pepper grinders for salt).

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Isn't sea salt pretty much the same thing, e.g. salt with larger grains than regular? We just have a different name for it, which is also why you'll never see Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay using an eggplant--because they'd both call that vegetable an aubergine.
    I think kosher salt is sort of the size in between sea salt and table salt?

    Ramsay is also weird, in that as a TV personality he very much changes which words he uses depending on if he show he's doing is American or British. So on the American shows he'll say 'shrimp' or 'zucchini', but in his British shows and on his YouTube cooking videos it's the right names prawns and courgettes.

    Baator, the name 'eggplant' sounds weird to me, because I've been calling it an aubergine all my life. Maybe it's because over here we still have some more language stolen from the old enemy (what, you thought those wars were about land or nobility? We just realised they have better food and language than us).
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Kosher salt also isn't really a thing over here (I'm British, just like Oliver and Ramsay). In the house I'm currently living in we have two kinds of salt, table salt for salt shakers and baking and sea salt for cooking and for salt grinders (yes, we use pepper grinders for salt).



    I think kosher salt is sort of the size in between sea salt and table salt?

    Ramsay is also weird, in that as a TV personality he very much changes which words he uses depending on if he show he's doing is American or British. So on the American shows he'll say 'shrimp' or 'zucchini', but in his British shows and on his YouTube cooking videos it's the right names prawns and courgettes.

    Baator, the name 'eggplant' sounds weird to me, because I've been calling it an aubergine all my life. Maybe it's because over here we still have some more language stolen from the old enemy (what, you thought those wars were about land or nobility? We just realised they have better food and language than us).
    Wouldn't that be sea and rock salt I don't think table salt has a proper definition does it?

    Also the names of prawns and shrimp are reversed in the US or something? Because they're definitely different types of water crustaceans in the UK.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spacewolf View Post
    Wouldn't that be sea and rock salt I don't think table salt has a proper definition does it?

    Also the names of prawns and shrimp are reversed in the US or something? Because they're definitely different types of water crustaceans in the UK.
    I think we stopped getting in actual rock salt after the last house. By table salt I meant the fine grains sold as such, instead of any particular type of salt.

    Quick research says that the names are arbitary, so I don't know what shrimps are known as in the US (UK born and bred here). To me it's all prawns, because who would order a shrimp cocktail.

    (I also would rant about chips versus crisps versus french fries, but I honestly can't be asked to get as annoyed about it as I do prawns and courgettes.
    Although I did have a good laugh asking my partner what they call chips over in France already knowing it's pommes.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I think we stopped getting in actual rock salt after the last house. By table salt I meant the fine grains sold as such, instead of any particular type of salt.

    Quick research says that the names are arbitary, so I don't know what shrimps are known as in the US (UK born and bred here). To me it's all prawns, because who would order a shrimp cocktail.

    (I also would rant about chips versus crisps versus french fries, but I honestly can't be asked to get as annoyed about it as I do prawns and courgettes.
    Although I did have a good laugh asking my partner what they call chips over in France already knowing it's pommes.)
    Shrimps are shrimps, and lots of people have shrimp cocktails, when they can afford them. There isn't really any other name for them here that I'm aware of until you start getting into the specific kinds of shrimps.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Ramsay is also weird, in that as a TV personality he very much changes which words he uses depending on if he show he's doing is American or British. So on the American shows he'll say 'shrimp' or 'zucchini', but in his British shows and on his YouTube cooking videos it's the right names prawns and courgettes.
    He's also far more polite and happy on his British shows. They're a lot better for it.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Shrimps are shrimps, and lots of people have shrimp cocktails, when they can afford them. There isn't really any other name for them here that I'm aware of until you start getting into the specific kinds of shrimps.
    You don't walk into a pub and order a shrimp cocktail! Plus it sounds weird, like you're ordering a small cocktail. Prawn cocktail makes infinitely more sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by ve4grm View Post
    He's also far more polite and happy on his British shows. They're a lot better for it.
    Yeah, it also makes him appear more professional. But the difference is startling, in the US shows it seems like he'll yell at people for the slightest mistake, in the British version of Kitchen Nightmares it looks like his first step is always to calmly explain what he thinks is wrong and then sort it out, while the American version he seems to skip straight to shouting, and it just doesn't feel right.

    I will say though that I do like him on the American version of Masterchef, because he seems to actually be fair, giving praise when needed and telling people off when something is wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    You don't walk into a pub and order a shrimp cocktail! Plus it sounds weird, like you're ordering a small cocktail. Prawn cocktail makes infinitely more sense.
    Well, yes you do. Or you would, if anyone actually ordered shrimp cocktails on this side of the atlantic.

    Technically, we're all wrong. Shrimp and Prawns are actually different species, but look and taste similar. Some areas lumped them all together and called them all prawns, while others did the opposite and called them all shrimp. And in some places, small ones are shrimp and big ones prawns, despite the fact that you can find big shrimp and small prawns as well.

    So it's all wrong, nobody's right, and shrimp are disgusting anyways.

    Also, I recently discovered that Prawn Cocktail is a fairly common crisp flavor over there? Which, well, blech.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I will say though that I do like him on the American version of Masterchef, because he seems to actually be fair, giving praise when needed and telling people off when something is wrong.
    Agreed.
    Last edited by ve4grm; 2017-12-20 at 11:53 AM.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Yeah, it also makes him appear more professional. But the difference is startling, in the US shows it seems like he'll yell at people for the slightest mistake, in the British version of Kitchen Nightmares it looks like his first step is always to calmly explain what he thinks is wrong and then sort it out, while the American version he seems to skip straight to shouting, and it just doesn't feel right.

    I will say though that I do like him on the American version of Masterchef, because he seems to actually be fair, giving praise when needed and telling people off when something is wrong.
    Id wager a lot of that is in the editing more than any actual difference in behavior for him. The American team chooses to emphasize the shouting and drama, because we have bad taste when it comes to reality TV over here.
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Id wager a lot of that is in the editing more than any actual difference in behavior for him. The American team chooses to emphasize the shouting and drama, because we have bad taste when it comes to reality TV over here.
    Definitely, though I'm sure he plays it up for the camera as well. He knows what the producers want from him, and gives it to them.

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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    You don't walk into a pub and order a shrimp cocktail! Plus it sounds weird, like you're ordering a small cocktail. Prawn cocktail makes infinitely more sense.
    First off, you're right, you don't walk into a pub and order a shrimp cocktail. I'd be terrified of anyone who did. Bars serve drinks, not food.

    Second, if I ordered a meal advertised with prawns and I got shrimp, I would be mildly upset. Prawns aren't shrimp. Shrimp aren't prawns.
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    Default Re: What's with the american fetish for kosher salt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    First off, you're right, you don't walk into a pub and order a shrimp cocktail. I'd be terrified of anyone who did. Bars serve drinks, not food.
    Pubs aren't bars. They're not the same thing. Pubs and Bars are different. U.S bars and U.K/U.K-sphere (Australia/New Zealand) Pubs are different establishments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Second, if I ordered a meal advertised with prawns and I got shrimp, I would be mildly upset. Prawns aren't shrimp. Shrimp aren't prawns.
    Except ya know, if you're in the U.K where they call shrimp prawns and they'd be advertising selling prawns as...what they call them...prawns. Considering that neither shrimp nor prawn are a scientific name a prawn isn't a prawn and a shrimp isn't a shrimp. They're just vernacular. Prawn isn't a taxa, neither is shrimp.

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