Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Psst! Don't buy from those people!

Via BoingBoing, we get this item about a guy with an "alternative" to kosher salt:

Retired barber Joe Godlewski says he was inspired by television chefs who repeatedly recommended kosher salt in recipes.

“I said, ‘What the heck’s the matter with Christian salt?’ ” Godlewski said, sipping a beer in the living room of his home in unincorporated Cresaptown, a western Maryland mountain community.

My first thought was that this is silly, that Mr Godlewski is a bit of a nutter, and that I didn’t have anything to say about it. Mostly harmless.

But then I thought again. It’s not harmless.

There’s nothing in Christian dietary laws that would point to any inspection or blessing of salt in order to make it acceptable. And the culinary preference for “kosher salt” has to do with its coarseness, not is blessedness or its “Jewishness”.

The only reason to create a “Christian” version is to encourage people — presumably Christian people — not to buy from Jews. And that’s not harmless.

What Mr Godlewski says is this:

“This is about keeping Christianity in front of the public so that it doesn’t die. I want to keep Christianity on the table, in the household, however I can do it.”
And he plans, if this is successful, to introduce other products like rye bread, bagels, and pickles. It’s no accident that those are also mostly associated with Jewish producers. It’s not just about “keeping Christianity in front of the public”, but specifically about pushing Jewish products aside.

Of course, he has every right to produce his products, and people can and will choose what to buy.

Personally, I’ll continue buying from Christians and Jews alike, as well as from Muslims and Hindus and non-believers. Just not from silly bigots.


Thomas J. Brown said...

As has been pointed out in the comments over on BB, kosher salt isn't blessed by a rabbi (actually, kosher foods aren't blessed at all, they just conform to kashrut). It's called kosher salt because it's used to make meat kosher. So, as one BB reader pointed out, it's koshering salt.

This guy's excuse – keeping Christianity in front of the public so that it doesn’t die – is ridiculous.

I don't know, Barry, now that you're unemployed, maybe you can start making and selling atheist salt.

Ray said...

Now, how about those Freedom Fries?

Barry Leiba said...

Right... when I started to write this, I meant to say how closely related to the "Freedom Fries" stupidity this was. But I forgot to put it in... thanks, Ray, for adding it.

lidija said...

How do people come up with such stuff???? Feeling so threatened? Not in reality, but once you have the nonsense of the defense of Christmas running on much-watched cable networks, it is easy to become (remain?) paranoid.

People really do not know that many things "Jewish" in this country are simply central/eastern-European - Christian European too. Sort of like saying potatoes were introduced in the US by the Irish.

lidija said...

Ahhhh, I love that pie chart Thomas posted (I was starting to write all that in words but deleted bcs it was too long, not having noticed the chart link).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I knew the "Christian Salt" business gave me a pit in my stomach, but I couldn't quite articulate why. This is why.

Jim Fenton said...

Here's what this reminds me of: Back in the '60s, when Color TV was new, electronic stores sold antennas, and color antennas. Cable, and color cable. The color products were generally anodized a pretty gold color, but were pretty much identical to the non-color products.

So now we have salt, and Christian salt. I don't see this as an anti-Jewish thing so much as just another way to get people to buy his stuff.

What's sorta amusing is the statement on the manufacturer's website that "All our ingredients are Kosher Certified..." So you can actually get Kosher Christian Salt!

Michelle said...

All I can say, in addition to what everyone has said, is, what a dick!

Barry Leiba said...

Jim, I don't know... at one level, I agree with you, which is why I initially thought it was just a harmless hoot. But then there's the "Freedom Fries" similarity, and I wonder why it's any different from "White People's Salt", say.

It's a marketing thing, to be sure. The problem is that it's more than just a marketing thing.

But, yes, I do appreciate the irony of Christian Kosher Salt. He-he-he....

Dr. Momentum said...

It’s not just about “keeping Christianity in front of the public”, but specifically about pushing Jewish products aside.

Seems to me it's about making a buck, hoping to rely on people's prejudices. Which feels doubly jerktastic.

Thomas J. Brown said...

One aspect of this story has always bugged me.

"What the heck’s the matter with Christian salt?"

Um, it doesn't exist? So he's a moron and a jerk. And soon, he'll probably be richer than any of us. Brilliant.