Now, I enjoy the odd salted peanut or Pringle as much as the next man – and I don’t object to Chef sprinkling a little of Maldon’s finest sea-salt hither and thither. I just don’t want my dinner tasting as though a packet of Saxo has been chucked in the saucepan.
I wonder, are there cooks out there paid commission by pharmaceutical companies who make their fortunes producing blood-pressure pills? In some establishments I’m surprised we don’t see more hypertensive diners keeling over, clutching their chests and croaking: “Fetch an ambulance – the salt’s done for me!”
I suppose an extra pinch of it in hot countries is beneficial, but I recall a steamy summer’s day in Florence when I bravely ordered a plate of tripe at a recommended family-run restaurant. There are people who regard tripe – or trippa in Italian – as something akin to an utterly tasteless, slippery assembly of blanched Pirelli off-cuts. It needs to be ‘well-seasoned’ at the best of times, but mine had me gasping for water after the first nibble.
In Italy they tend not to stint on the seasoning, so one imagines there would be riots in Roma and ferment in Firenze if anyone tried to banish salt from restaurant kitchens. Legislators in New York State failed in an attempt to do just that three years ago, having earlier succeeded in banning artery-clogging transfats.
In New York, as elsewhere, there are still plenty of folk who like a good dose of sodium chloride on their dinner plate. For example, Mike Bevans, owner of Linthwaite House Hotel, loves the stuff.
“Healthier eating means there is a move towards less salt being added to food in preparation,” he confirms. “It’s all subjective – but it’s a trend I hate!”
Which goes to show that, on the question of salt, it takes all sorts. Personally, I could shake it or leave it.« View all blog articles.