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How Many Tartars Do You Know?

 Is there cream of tartar in Tartar Sauce?

 That only seems fair, doesn't it? But no, the mayonnaise-based sauce does not include cream of tartar – at least not any recipe that we have seen.

Cream of tartar is most often used in the formulation of baking powder, in beating egg whites to higher volume, and to inhibit crystallization in the production of sugar candy.

Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise traditionally mixed with hard-cooked eggs, chopped onion, and chives, although you're as likely to find capers, chopped pickles, parsley, various herbs, and other ingredients. It has been served alongside fish, calves feet, fried oysters, frog's legs, and pont-neuf potatoes – nowadays mostly fish.

The French word tartare, which has been in use for seven- or eight-hundred years, is a reference to the fierce central Asian Tatars, and is generally applied to assertive foods. The term la tartare originally referred to dishes that were covered with breadcrumbs and broiled, before being served with Sauce Tartare.

Steak Tartare is raw, ground meat – most traditionally horse meat (hey, we just can't sugarcoat everything here!) but in this country, beef. It is served with a raw egg yolk, chopped onion, parsley, shallots, capers, sometimes cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and/or Worcestershire sauce.

From our brief research, the tartar in the steak and the sauce came to us by way French, middle Latin, and, originally, Persian. The tartar in cream of tartar may have come from a different, Germanic root through Middle Latin to Middle English. That may be why none of the classic tartar recipes include cream of tartar.

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