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Salt and pepper

The most basic of seasonings -- at least in US cuisine -- are salt and black pepper.

Since all living creatures have an absolute need for sodium, it's pretty obvious why we evolved to like salt.

But why pepper? Is there any reason other than because that's what we're used to?


  • Western cooking's dependence on pepper is a complicated story tracing back hundreds of years, trading routes and European colonialism. Pepper's punch adds accent to dishes and a mild spiciness, which helps define a dish's flavor. However, there are lots of ways to do that if black pepper isn't your thing. In Morocco, cumin seed is often used instead of pepper. In Turkey, smoky-fruity tasting chilies, like Aleppo or Urfa pepper, are used as table side garnishes.

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