Cooking School Secrets: Salt & Pepper

It's a pair like no other. Salt and pepper are so essential to cooking that one of the chefs even joked that culinary school is about paying big money to learn how to use them.

I've always been pretty liberal with my use of salt and pepper, but I've said my goodbye to Morton's and black pepper when it comes to cooking. I've switched to kosher salt and white pepper. I knew that was choice of most chefs but I needed to know why before I took action.

Here's what I learned:

  • Kosher salt tastes better and it's got a rough texture that makes it easy to grasp and control.
  • Kosher salt has less sodium. You can use less and still get the flavor you are looking for. One teaspoon of iodized salt has 2300 milligrams of sodium - the recommended daily intake; the same amount of kosher salt has 1800 mg. Also, if you are trying to reduce your sodium intake, add salt just before serving rather than early cooking. This goes against what many chefs will tell you, but while salt breaks down in flavor during cooking, the sodium content doesn't decrease.
  • Kosher salt has no additives. Iodine was added to table salt to ward off goiter many decades ago, but it is possible to get the amount we need daily from seafood, dairy and green leafy vegetables. And you get iodine in the pre-packaged food you buy.
  • White pepper isn't only for light-colored foods. It has better flavor than black pepper. It costs more money, but you end up using less.

Good reasons to change...plus I get a kick out of doing things like the celebrity chefs.

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