The French do not really use baking soda in baking. I must say, it took me some years to one day add a heaping 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda to my chocolate chip cookie dough, and I can still remember the taste after the very first bite.
So… I do not really value baking soda in baking in general as much as I value it as a must-have all-purpose household product. My grandmother used it every day. She kept a ceramic bowl full of baking soda next to the kitchen sink, and she used it throughout the day –
After washing the dishes in the sink, she would clean the sink with baking soda.
She removed hard water spots in the toilet by scrubbing with baking soda.
She cleaned her kitchen and bathroom drains with a generous amount of baking soda.
She polished her silverware with baking soda. I remember her lining a large pot with aluminum foil and immersing her tarnished utensils in that magical solution. The result was instant.
She removed the smell of strong cheese from her refrigerator by placing the ceramic bowl on the upper shelf and leaving it there for several days until the smell had completely vanished.
She washed her laundry with baking soda. My grandmother never had a washer. Her laundry was always bright white and clean, though.
She probably had many other uses for baking soda that, unfortunately, I cannot remember.
I had an old French friend who passed away a few years ago. Her name was Nadine. Baking soda was her all-in-one tooth-care kit. Instead of using toothpaste, whitening strips, and mouthwash, she swore by baking soda. She was convinced that baking soda did it all! She wondered why people spent so much money on all these products when they could save so much.
Also, the French consume baking soda as a mild and natural medication to prevent heartburn. It replaces the Alka Selzer. As a matter of fact, I wonder if “Alka” is for alkaline – the opposite of acidic. Knowing that “Selzer” is tonic water, it would make sense to believe that the “Alka Selzer” is a form of alkaline tonic water. Please note that most brands of tonic water are acidic instead, but when you have heartburn, acid is absolutely not what you want to add to your stomach. Just a thought. I love languages, and I do have a very inquisitive mind when it comes to words.
I am still puzzled about the use of baking soda in baking, and I do not know why so many American dessert recipes call for baking soda. It is supposed to be a leavening agent, but I find that baking powder works much better than baking soda without leaving any after-taste.
I have no reason to hesitate to use baking soda in my chocolate chip cookies if the recipe calls for it – After all, baking soda is pretty harmless. However, I have no reason to use it either. I have tried the chocolate chip cookies with and without the baking soda. The two batches came out undisputedly identical in appearance. The taste of the former was bitter, though. I preferred the latter.
So … I will personally forget about baking soda in my cookies.
The bottom line is, if you are looking for ways to save money and be more environmentally responsible, you can give up on all the chemicals and replace them by the white miracle powder. It works!