Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Morton's (not exactly) Kosher Salt

Every three years or so I find myself needing a new box of kosher salt. Off I go to market and buy a three-pound box of Morton's Kosher Salt. Why Morton's? Because my mother bought it. Because my grandmother bought it. Because that iconic blue box with the girl in the yellow dress has always been in my life.

Yesterday I opened my fresh box, noting that even venerable Morton's has spiffed up their packaging. Where the girl and her umbrella once took up the entire front of the box, she's now shrunken to allow a still life of fresh vegetables--doubtless to encourage healthful associations. Below the veggies, the lettering, still the same:

Coarse Kosher Salt
Great for Gourmet Cooking

Below that, the Star of David and, as April nears, the words "Kosher for Passover."

One side of the box still tells you how to kosher meat or poultry (soak the meat in cool water, then place it on a tilted cutting board, which allows blood to run down, and salt liberally. Rinse.) For years the back panel advertised a recipe for salt-crusted beef tenderloin. Now we have a recipe from one Nikki Norman, pictured beside her creation: Baked Asian Shrimp with Thai Sauce. Nikki Norman is not Jewish. Nor is shrimp, which, as shellfish, officially qualifies as a bottom feeder, rendering it treyfe.

While not a hairball, this is worthy of a WTF, an slang appelation I recently learned. I understand Morton's wants lots of people to buy their salt, and that restricting themselves to a shrinking population of Kashrut Jews is economically unwise. But surely they must realize that many Jews will be put off--even refuse--to have a box like this in their home?

Given my professed treyfe lifestyle and Catholic husband, it would be hypocrisy for me to stop buying Morton's. And of course a recipe on a box is small thing in light of current events...but is nothing sacred? There are countless recipes out there calling for salt....most recipes! Surely Morton's could've printed something less egregious. Chicken, for instance, a food popular with Jews and non-Jews alike. Fish with scales. How about potatoes baked in salt? Then even the vegans are happy.

I know, I know. Trivial. But a Star of David on the front and a shrimp recipe on the back?



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