Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Salt Or Not To Salt - A Personal Thought

Okay before I start I have to say in my view that there are some things where salt has to be used- chips , roast potatoes and when roasting chicken or pork (sprinkle salt on the skin) All are enhanced by the use of salt. But apart from that I can't think of anything else that you need add a lot of salt to. It is a matter of personal taste afterall, however have we used salt for so long that our tastebuds can't live without it? In my view no. But as with all things the use of salt must always be used in moderation.

I decided I needed to cut down on my salt levels, because I used to be very sedentary, due to on- going back issues and kept reading how to much salt could cause high blood pressure which may lead to other complications. So after a few years of cutting down on salt I now find going out to restaurants and eating prepared food, painful as they can use too much salt.

Do we really need to put salt in a pan when boiling vegetables? I am aware that adding salt to boiling water increases the water temperature, and that most of the salt is thrown away when you sieve water, but you can still taste the salt. At the end of the day every food has it's own unique flavour, so do we really need salt to bring it out? Would you spray an additive, like paint on a beautiful flower, or even add an aroma to it? No! So why add salt to a beautifully prepared meal? Also I keep reading that when boiling pasta you should add salt – why? It tastes okay without it.

I love watching cookery programmes and the amount of salt some chefs add is amazing. My favourite chef , who I love watching on TV, is Rick Stein, but I shudder when I see the amount of salt he adds to his dishes. I will admit that adding some salt can help to enhance the flavour but do we need to add so much and add it to everything? There are other seasonings available- lemon, herbs, spices....

I recently went to a Scandinavian restaurant in West London called Madsen, which is a nice looking restaurant and the staff very pleasant. I know that the food I ordered was naturally salty, like Gravlax for my starter. However, my main course of Cod and Haddock fish cakes (not smoked fish) had far too much salt added to them. They are also sprinkled salt over the top. After a couple of mouthfuls I had to send it back because it was like having a mouthful of seawater. Even my partner agreed (and he is not as fussy as me) that it was too salty. The staff where very polite and arranged a new plate of fish cakes,which was much better. But my taste buds were still high from salt so couldn't really enjoy the meal. When paying almost £100 for a meal for two, even with a Taste Card (more about that on another blog) I shouldn't have to complain about salt.

Another pet hate is salt on a restaurant table, surely if the chef has seasoned the meal as he/she sees fit, you shouldn't need to add salt because that is how they want it to taste. I have noticed that a few restaurants are no longer putting salt on the table. I wonder if that is because of what I have said about chefs using the correct amount of seasoning.

In the UK people who eat pre-made bread are probably unaware that their salt intake has reduced by about 10%, because the government requested that bread makers reduce the amount salt they add! 

If you want more information regarding health issues regarding salt please visit the link below.


Also the BBC has a great Recipe page http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes

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