Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Hold The Salt
Seldom is the evening that we find our selves dining out at a restaurant. The reasons are pretty simple: 1) I enjoy being in the kitchen. 2) It's easier to prepared healthy meals at home (less salt, less fat, less sugar). 3) Cost.
What annoys me the most about dining out is the amount of salt used in basically every single dish. Chain restaurants are the worst offenders for salt and fat. Although, Emeril Lagasse, a supposed master chef who should know better, is right up there with the worst of the worst. Anyway, couple of years ago we were given a gift card to Outback Steakhouse and since there's one within a few miles of our house, we went there for steaks. The American Heart Association recommends that an adult consume no more than 1500mg of sodium per day, and that steak alone contained nearly half of a daily allowance (740mg). Once you factor in the accompanying house salad with light balsamic vinaigrette, and plain baked potato, your sodium intake tops off at 1860mg.
Why? Why so much salt? I don't enjoy an overly salted meal at all, but this seems to be common across the board in American restaurants, from high end establishments to Burger King. Is it possible that high sodium in restaurant food is simply a default result? Because sense of smell is linked to our sense of taste intrinsically, and because these two senses vary widely in the general population, particularly between men and women, have the restaurateurs chosen to cater to the lowest common denominator of taste, to over salt everything? And you know, the old adage holds true; it's easier to add salt than it is to take it back out. Why not leave that choice to the diner? I know that some foodies are hysterical when it comes to proper seasoning, with Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio often going off on contestants who under season food, but to me this makes no sense. Given the differences between individuals in their ability to taste, or process what they are testing, how can anyone set a standard for salt? Especially once you consider the health implication. Shouldn't it be imperative to under season with salt? If the person eating that dish wants to salt it like Dick Cheney, then let them assume that risk. I for one don't want some clod in the kitchen who thinks that the more salt the better is the way to prepare food making that choice for me.