Old 04-26-2012, 09:11 AM
MacLir MacLir is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 616

The reason saltpeter was in the Navy food was as a preservative, of course. Corned beef was a method of preserving meat at ambient temperature for an indefinate period.

The nitrates and nitrites (sodium and potassium) are what gives cured meats (hotdogs, salami, bacon, and especially ham and corned beef) that pink color. As such, consumption of them is ubiquitous; if they really had that effect, we'd almost all be uninterested.

When you buy nitrate for home curing, it's usually called "pink salt" or "Prague powder." You can make bacon and corned beef without them (I do), but it looks different.

Last edited by MacLir; 04-26-2012 at 09:16 AM. Reason: Typos
Old 04-26-2012, 11:29 AM
tim-n-va tim-n-va is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,083
Big rumors about this when I was in basic training. The best part was the guy who misunderstood and thought they were putting "soft peter" in our food.
Old 04-26-2012, 11:52 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 20,087
MacLir, it's always a good idea to supply a link to the column in question right off the bat, so we all know what we are talking about. Perhaps it's this one?
Old 04-26-2012, 03:13 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
Posts: 74,314
Yes, I'm sure it's that one.

Since the column dates to 1989, would it be worthwhile to change the reference in the opening paragraph to "George H.W. Bush" rather than simply "George Bush"?
Old 04-26-2012, 03:28 PM
Eleanor of Aquitaine Eleanor of Aquitaine is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 3,026


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