July 31, 2017

"At an emotional level, shunning onion powder feels like a meaningful rejection of the previous generation’s cooking ethos."

"Onion powder hasn’t been treated with quite the disdain of, say MSG or corn syrup, but it is part of the same emotional package. And while plenty of home cooks still use it, within the realm of chefs, food writers, and other tastemakers, it is generally regarded as old school—not in an exciting or authentic way, but in a snickering, 'Can you believe people used to cook with condensed mushroom soup?' way."

(Metafilter.)

66 comments:

MayBee said...

It was recently revealed that MSG is not unhealthy after all. Imagine that.

Will Cate said...

LOL... I used onion powder just yesterday in a 4-hour crockpot meal. If I'd had a real onion in the house I probably wouldn't have, but it was fine just the same.

Nick said...

Let the snobs be snobs, and the rest of us use whatever we have on hand. I lost a batch of chicken stock last week and had nothing but a ramen flavor-pack to replace it. It worked far better than it had any right to.

traditionalguy said...

Wow. Virtue signalling with seasonings. Aren't wine pairings and rare vintages enough to do that job. And what about cheeses?

Ralph L said...

I'd like to know how the ancient Romans discovered garum, which sounds disgusting but is supposedly close to MSG.

A month ago, I bought some fresh garlic for the first time in decades. I can't tell the difference between it and garlic powder, except for the smell on my fingers.

Does anyone still make old-style TV dinners?

traditionalguy said...

My favorite new one is Sea Salt. There is no difference with Morton's Iodized Salt except for iodine deficiency disease that further lowers IQ of the Sea Salt believers.

Ralph L said...

Last night, we watched a Southern Accents segment on a resort (in rural western Georgia!) with its own wine advisor, whom they labeled "Wine Snob."

Kate said...

My adult son watches a lot of cooking videos and experiments accordingly. (Currently, he's on a dried bean kick. Heaven help me.) The videos that currently interest him are frontier-style cooking. Eventually, though, he will get to mid-century styles and I'll be drowning in deviled eggs and celery sticks dipped in sour cream with onion powder.

Quaestor said...

Using onion powder allows a consistency that's difficult to achieve using fresh onions. When a dish calls for onion the questions arises: What kind of onion? Yellow? White? Red? Green? I usually buy yellow onions, but sometimes not. In terms of "onioniness" how much white onion is equivalent to yellow onion? 50%? 75%? I don't know. Too much onion is far worse than too little. Onion powder has a post-cooking advantage. If you're making a stew or soup you can always add a bit more onion powder after the dish is finished if there's not enough assertiveness onion-wise. That's hard to do with onions themselves.

mezzrow said...

"But, it's artisanal onion powder, produced right in this neighborhood."

Then smile. That's how you deal with that. The nerve of these people. They don't have to eat my food if they don't feel like it. I'm not cooking for them.

Quaestor (look up) understands perfectly the need for the stuff. It's a great tool.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Onion powder is an essential ingredient in a good BBQ rub.

Dehydrated onion flakes are a good thing to have to add to a soup or stew in a pinch and re-hydrate quite nicely.

Quaestor said...

My favorite new one is Sea Salt.

I know an idiot who cooks with Morton kosher salt because his favorite TV chef uses kosher salt. I asked him what the difference could be between the kosher salt and the cheapest salt on the grocer's shelf? He said, "If Chef YabbaDabba Doo uses kosher salt it must be better than ordinary salt." Next, I asked him if it is possible Chef YabbaDabba Doo is Jewish, and therefore uses that salt for non-culinary reasons. He stared blankly at me. Then, I asked him to consider the possibility the famous chef gets paid to promote the most expensive salt. "I think kosher salt tastes better," he replied.

This relates to the futility of trying to get collusion-obsessed Democrats to think critically.

Rick Turley said...

Echoing DBQ, it's also an essential component - along with garlic powder - in Southern fried foods.

buwaya said...

Is there such a thing as too much onion?
I know that too much garlic is a physical impossibility.

If your stuff is too onion-y or garlicky or vinegary or fishy or salty, just add rice.

Rice, the high technology from the Far East.

Ralph L said...

celery sticks dipped in sour cream with onion powder.
Softened cream cheese, not sour cream. We have it frequently with raw broccoli, celery, or baby carrots, because it's the only way I can get my father to eat vegetables that I also like. I now use Aldi's French Onion Dip. Way cheaper than Philadelphia's.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Quaestor.

While I agree with you about the lack of critical thinking in the left.....don't diminish the use of Kosher salt. If you want he best slow baked Boston Butt Roast ever use this paste/rub. Iodized salt will never work for this because of the granular instead of flake nature and the after taste. Kosher salt is the best for when you want the salt to stick to the meat.

for a 4 lb roast.

4 tbsp kosher salt
4 whole peeled and smashed garlic cloves
handful of fresh oregano (ok..I don't know how much that really is but about 1/3 cup)
or 1tbps dried oregano
1 tbps coarse ground pepper
3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

In a mortar & pestle smoosh and grind the stuff to a thick paste. Pat all over the roast loosely cover (meaning don't let the wrapping actually touch the roast)and let it sit in the fridge for 3 hours or longer. Bring to room temp. Roast at 325 for about 3 hours (use an instant read thermometer probe if you are afraid. Let sit for10 min or so before cutting. Scrape off the salty rub if you don't like that much salt before eating.

1 tbsp salt per lb of meat. Increase recipe and cooking time accordingly to size of roast.

We don't need to cook pork to a super well done state anymore. A bit on the pink side is ok. My mother used to make pork chops that could be used as hockey pucks and we needed applesauce to gag them down.

tcrosse said...

It's genuine imported poudre d'oignon for me.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

On amazon the difference between Morton's iodized salt and kosher is 2 cents an ounce. Also, kosher salt is not "kosher" it is used to make meats kosher by drawing out the blood. The reason to use Kosher salt vs iodized salt is that you can taste the iodine, which you can get without having it put in your salt, which is why it was originally added.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/06/why-iodine-is-added-to-salt/

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Onion salt, garlic slat.. if not good enough for some snooty NY a-ho, go f yourself.

Rusty said...

Try making your own sausage without it.

jwl said...

I use onion powder all the time as well. Progressives are colossal snobs, it is ideology of vain people.

Refined salt is different to sea salts - refined has what they call impurities removed, they add non clumping agents and then bleach it. Sea salt has its impurities left in = and they are trace amounts of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium - and it has not had any agents added to it, nor has it been bleached.

Titus said...

I don't cook. I eat out or get take out or just skip a meal. Sometimes for dinner I will have a boiled egg-that I did not boil, but purchased at the Whole Foods a block from my penthouse loft.

foodies can be so pretentious!

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Sometimes I don't feel like chopping an onion. Sometimes you are making a work of art and cut no corners; sometimes you just need to get something on the table.

A friend of mine used to shrug about her less than gourmet meals, "It makes a turd."

Ralph L said...

My late step-monster once gave me a cheap stocked spice rack from China. The bay leaves were chopped.
The whole thing sat in a corner for a few years until I tossed it.

clint said...

Wait... what's wrong with using condensed soups and dried soup mixes in my cooking?


Sam's Hideout said...

The reason cooks often use kosher salt is that it is easier to get a controlled sprinkle, table salt is too fine.

sinz52 said...

Here's my philosophy of cooking:

If it takes you longer to cook it than it takes you to eat it,
you're doing it wrong.

CStanley said...

I'm not a fan of onion powder...Im not a snob about it but it has a different flavor than real onions IMO. And lots of dishes benefit from the carmelized flavor you get from cooking down real onions.

That said, I always wish I had onion powder on hand when I make hamburgers.

Ralph L said...

A friend of mine used to shrug about her less than gourmet meals, "It makes a turd."
I hope she doesn't announce that before dinner. My step M used to bring up her 6 months on a colostomy bag right before. Four years dead and she can still rile me up.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Here's my philosophy of cooking:

If it takes you longer to cook it than it takes you to eat it,
you're doing it wrong.


@ sinz52

Eat slower :-D

also...Never eat anything bigger than your head.

Darrell said...

Onion powder and garlic power are kitchen staples--even if you have fresh. I remember watch Martha Stewart a long time ago and she had some famous chef as a guest to cook a single meat dish. She asked if he could tell her his secret blend of spices as he cooked the meat. He said, "salt." And she goes "ummmmm, sa...lt!" Fuckheads.

Mary Beth said...

Kosher salt measures differently because it's larger grained. A recipe calling for one tablespoon of kosher salt will taste different if you use one tablespoon of table salt.

Kosher salt got it's name because it's used to kosher meat (coat the meat to remove the blood), not because it's certified kosher. I wonder why the name "koshering salt" got shortened but we still call pickling salt by it's full name.

mockturtle said...

As others have said, it's all about the application. There are dishes---and, as DBQ points out---rubs, where fresh onions won't work. Same with garlic. People who write these kinds of articles are just blathering. Worse, someone is paying them to blather.

chuck said...

When four intelligence agencies declare onion powder passe I'll consider the proposition.

rcocean said...

I've had to cut down on salt for health reasons. Tough at first, but now i don't miss it, and will gladly pass up dishes I'd previously loved as "too salty".

exiledonmainstreet said...

"When a dish calls for onion the questions arises: What kind of onion? Yellow? White? Red? Green?"

I always assume that yellow onions are the default in cooked dishes, stews and so forth unless another variety is specifically listed in the recipe. Green onions would not be a good substitute for yellow ones.

Red onions in salads.

Deb said...

Condensed cream of mushroom soup is an essential ingredient in the traditional green been casserole. No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without it.

mockturtle said...

Deb, I suspect casseroles are also a Midwestern phenom. Am I right?

Anthony said...

"But, it's artisanal onion powder, produced right in this neighborhood."

A guy I work with has a bunch of concord grapes growing around his house that he uses to make wine. He tried to sell it at a farmer's market but no one wanted to buy it.

I suggested he label it as Artisanal and see what happens.

No word yet on whether he tried it or not.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Deb said...
Condensed cream of mushroom soup is an essential ingredient in the traditional green been casserole. No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without it.

7/31/17, 11:49 AM

That's right!

tcrosse said...

Deb, I suspect casseroles are also a Midwestern phenom. Am I right?

In Minnesota they call it Hot Dish. Every year there's the Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition, started by Al Franken.

mockturtle said...

I've eaten many a Thanksgiving dinner and never once encountered a casserole. Honestly. This must be regional.

Of course, leftover turkey makes a great tetrazzini and that's kind of a casserole. And sometimes I just bake turkey with the dressing for post-thanksgiving meals.

Dopey said...

Kosher salt is essential for brining meat before grilling for the very reason it is "kosher" -- it draws out liquids. Garlic powder and onion powder are essential ingredient in most barbecue rubs. And . . . tomato sandwiches required a dusting of onion salt to achieve tomato nirvana.

I grew up on Campbell soup casseroles. Most are still good today.

DanTheMan said...

>>I grew up on Campbell soup casseroles. Most are still good today.

Wow. I would have thought for sure they would have spoiled by now...

Howard said...

Convenience is nice when you want great tasting food, but don't desire to spend hours and hours preparing curated, culturally appropriated meals on the next Master Chef.

Onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed powder,cumin powder, dried sage rosemary thyme oregano basil and parsley flakes/powder, mustard powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, ancho chili powder, chipotle powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper. Somewhere in there you have the magic 11 herb and spice base that you can and different kicks to.

Howard said...

I forgot marjoram, which is great with potatoes.

tcrosse said...

James Lileks has exhaustively explored the Previous Generation's Cooking Ethos, although maybe is should be called the Gallery of Deplorable Food.

Gallery of Regrettable Food

traditionalguy said...

Our new favorite for weekend supper is Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pies. They come in packs of 6 individual boxes, that you then take the tops off of and microwave in each box for 6 minutes. The box has a inside coating that makes the crust brown. And the crust is the best part. We've come a long way baby.

mockturtle said...

Our new favorite for weekend supper is Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pies. They come in packs of 6 individual boxes, that you then take the tops off of and microwave in each box for 6 minutes. The box has a inside coating that makes the crust brown. And the crust is the best part. We've come a long way baby.

Those aren't bad. They are the only convenience food my late husband liked. He was a crust-lover and I am not so I gave him all my crust.

mikeski said...

Cooking with condensed soups = casseroles/hotdishes = upper midwest = "flyover country".

It's more virtue signaling. "That's how people who voted for Trump cook!"

I assume "onion powder" was an attempt at the same, but the dopes didn't know it's part of the rub on their artisanal pork-belly-and-arugula sliders.

Earnest Prole said...

Onion powder is simply awaiting its moment, which of course can’t come until a coastal elite endorses it. Watch how it works with mayonnaise:

“I noticed chef Michael Cimarusti lightly brush delicate halibut fillets with mayonnaise before grilling. Yes, mayo — the stuff of cafeteria bologna sandwiches and picnic potato salads. Cimarusti, who knows his fish, is chef and owner of Providence, No. 1 for the last few years on Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants List.”

From the LA Times, Why you should be grilling with mayonnaise.

tcrosse said...

Our new favorite for weekend supper is Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pies.

Pepperidge Farm used to make some wonderful chicken pot pies, but it's a difficult product to make money with, so they stopped.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Earnest Prole said...
Onion powder is simply awaiting its moment, which of course can’t come until a coastal elite endorses it. Watch how it works with mayonnaise"

Mayonnaise started out fancy - it was created by the French, after all and then went downscale as a result of those baloney sandwiches on white bread. I think it started to ascend when chefs came out with flavored mayo. It was OK for foodies to use it if it was homemade lemon or basil mayonnaise.

A friend recommended using mayo instead of butter to make grilled cheese sandwiches. I didn't like it at all. And the sandwich was soggy instead of crisp.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I think it's safe to say Kraft American cheese slices will remain downscale.

tcrosse said...

I think it's safe to say Kraft American cheese slices will remain downscale.

Right down there with Velveeta and Cheez Whiz

Earnest Prole said...

A friend recommended using mayo instead of butter to make grilled cheese sandwiches. I didn't like it at all. And the sandwich was soggy instead of crisp.

They mention using mayonnaise on grilled cheese in the article. Like you I'm averse to soggy bread -- having mastered perfect grilled-cheese crispness using butter, I doubt if I'll ever try mayo.

One additional use of mayonnaise I've seen: my neighborhood Chinese restaurant dips shrimp in mayo and deep-fries them to make honey-walnut prawns.

mockturtle said...

Butter is essential for grilled cheese sandwiches. Oh, my, I could just eat one now!

mockturtle said...

I mix mayo and catsup for fish tacos.

Earnest Prole said...

I mix mayo and catsup for fish tacos.

My fish taco sauce is equal parts mayo and sour cream blended with minced garlic and the juice of a lime and then allowed to sit for several hours to blend the flavors.

mockturtle said...

My fish taco sauce is equal parts mayo and sour cream blended with minced garlic and the juice of a lime and then allowed to sit for several hours to blend the flavors.

That sounds nice, Earnest. I only cook for one* nowadays so am not as fussy a cook as I used to be. ;-)

*If you don't count my dog.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Quaestor said...
My favorite new one is Sea Salt.

I know an idiot who cooks with Morton kosher salt because his favorite TV chef uses kosher salt. I asked him what the difference could be between the kosher salt and the cheapest salt on the grocer's shelf? ...

Q, do you need more on this, or have you been sufficiently schooled?

The Jews aren't putting their hands in your pockets. Relax. There is no such thing as kosher salt, or rather, all salt is kosher. It's just like coarse mealed gunpowder or grits, vs the fine mealed g/g of table salt.

One thing is that if you use the same amount of table salt, the food will be far far saltier. You can even use tricks like encrusting a roast in a solid coat of kosher salt, because far less of it will get into the meat, but will have desirable thermal characteristics.

Bad Lieutenant said...

One additional use of mayonnaise I've seen: my neighborhood Chinese restaurant dips shrimp in mayo and deep-fries them to make honey-walnut prawns.
7/31/17, 3:29 PM

Earnest, this is important. Good Chinese food is an important topic. Do you have knowledge that that is the process? I think that they fry the shrimp and then apply mayonnaise as a sauce. Have you seen it done? Incidentally it is not honest decent Hellman's mayonnaise but some kind of I believe a sinister Japanese mayonnaise which includes sugar, I believe it's called Kewpie mayonnaise.

mockturtle said...

Incidentally it is not honest decent Hellman's mayonnaise

Here in the West, BL, Hellman's is sold as Best Foods. The only mayonnaise worth buying, in either case. Easy to make your own, of course, but you always make more than you can safely use as it doesn't keep like the jar variety.

Bad Lieutenant said...

The only mayonnaise worth buying, in either case.


You're damned right!

Bad Lieutenant said...

People in the South apparently like a mayonnaise called Duke's, but then you have to remember, they lost the war, so you have to cut them some slack. Long ago I made a beautiful stiff homemade mayonnaise once with olive oil and nice fresh eggs and probably ordinary white vinegar and some Colman's dry mustard. Probably just those ingredients. No sugar or turmeric or anything. The stuff came out with a beautiful eerie greenish tone to it, and it was very nice and authentic and I never made it again. I don't remember whether I finished the jar. It was very easy to do. Whisked it by hand, no problem. Just didn't quite please me. My parents liked it.

Bad Lieutenant said...

And just in case there was any remaining uncertainty, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with using either onion powder or dehydrated onion flakes.