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My merfolk are omnivores and can use fire, which was discovered recently. They can breath out of the water for about 45 minutes before fainting.

What kinds dishes can they cook and how different would they be to human food? What kinds of spices and condiments can they get in the ocean?

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    $\begingroup$ Interest side question: Since the merfolk live among salt, would they want to add it to food? Would they even notice? $\endgroup$ – cobaltduck Mar 8 '17 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ well salt would be pretty abundant in the ocean XD but seriously... this question is a bit open ended and opinion based. Kind of hard to say what food they would eat besides fish since we don't really know what lives in your ocean. Spices and condiments would also be a bit speculative to salt and seaweed mostly $\endgroup$ – ggiaquin16 Mar 8 '17 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ A little hint from my side: you should keep questions open for at least one or two days, as according to my experience, it may take some time to find the question and some more time to write an answer to it. If there is already an accepted answer other users might be discouraged from writing additional answers. And people on this site live all over the world in different time zones - accepting something after 14 hours may lead to people never being able to read your question (as most of us probably have a job). $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Mar 9 '17 at 11:25
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  1. Salt: We have a lack of salt, this is why we love it. Marine mammals have too much, their system has significant modifications to excrete it, but they still don't really like it. For example, penguins can live on purely salt water, they weep the salt away with modified glands. But if they live in a zoo, and they can choose between salty and sweet water to drink, they choose always the sweet. Thus, they would probably not use any salt.
  2. Baking: It is a new development, that we bake the meat, and most of us wouldn't even eat raw one, except the Englishmen. But baking meat concentrates its flavor, and it is visible for everybody. Baking meat would be developed soon, and they would probably like it. In the beginning, it would be some "delicacy".
  3. Most of the marine animals eat mainly meat. The reason is that there are no large plants in the seas, most of them is unicellular. But there is a lot of fish.
  4. Eating the flesh of land animals probably wouldn't be a delicacy, except for their French. It is similar as also we won't really like to eat worms or snails, well maybe the south east asians, but their culture accustomed to it, because they were always overpopulated, with a nearby sea. As we can see, we can easily accustome to alien plants, but it is not so for alien meat (worms). It is probably an evolutionary thing, animals have much higher chance to give us infections.
  5. The sugar in the land plants contains a lot of energy, this is why we find it tasty. It would happen also in their case.

On this I suspect:

  1. They would most probably bring fish from them to the land, and bake them on the shore
  2. They would like to eat it without salt
  3. With sweet fruits
  4. All of these things - eating baked, dead fish on the land, instead living ones in the water - would seem as delicacy for them.
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  • $\begingroup$ There's a pretty big difference between salty food and salty water. I don't know anyone that prefers salt in their water, but we sure like it on food. (For one, it "amplifies" other tastes.) That said, just as felines have no taste buds sensitive to "sweet", mermaids might not be able to taste "salty" at all. Really, you could go either way, but at most they would probably employ salt more sparingly than Americans. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Sep 18 '18 at 17:34

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