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Salty?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Salt is the one thing that all chefs agree belongs in almost all food.

But seasoning in general is a very tricky thing. Some people prefer their food saltier than others. I always taste the food I am making before serving it to make sure it is seasoned properly. But I find that tasting it from the pot often does not give me an accurate gauge on saltiness - probably because it's too hot and my taste buds don't register the seasoning yet.

I've also had many occasions where I'll be reaching for the salt shaker while my husband is complaining the food is too salty. We must have a different tolerance of it I guess. Often I've given him food that is comletely unsalted and he won't notice there's no salt in it. Odd.

So, are you a salt fiend, an oversalter, and how do you decide when enough is enough?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 13
I tend to under salt in the beginning of a recipe especially if I'm making a soup or stew that will reduce during cooking. My safeguard is to have my wife taste whatever I've got on the stove - she's a good judge when it comes to seasonings. Where I use to have problems with salt was in rubs - seems I always over did it.

This begs the question - if you do over salt how do rectify the situation? Does the raw potato really help or is that just an old wive's tale?


Willie
post #3 of 13
When I was a new bride, and learning to cook for DH, it seemed I never could get enough salt in the food to suit him, no matter how much I added. But I didn't like too much saltiness. I finally concluded that it wasn't the salt that was cooked in the food, or the lack of it, that was at issue. He liked the taste of the salt sprinkled on the food...that burst of saltiness on his tongue. Once I realized this, I started preparing food to my taste, and he happily reached for the salt shaker at every meal. It will be 45 years in December, and this system still works for us, although now he is careful not to use 'too much'.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #4 of 13
The modern practice in "high-end" cooking is to under-salt in layers. That is, add salt in several stages keeping the final presentation very slightly under-salted in deference to those who like salt less.

It's true that hot food tastes a little different than food which has been plated and cooled slightly. Remember -- slightly under seasoned is preferable to slightly over seasoned. True for salt, sour, and hot. Sweet, I'm afraid, you have to hit on the nosey.

There is a proper salt level, learning it takes practice some of which you'll have to do by dining out in good restaurants. Taste carefully, try to remember. You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.

BDL
post #5 of 13
You can always add salt later, but you can't take it out so easily once it's in.

The subject is so subjective--we all have a different salt-meter. I use less rather than more. I can sprinkle some on when served.

It's the reverse of cutting hair, when you can always cut more but if you cut too much you can't put it back.
post #6 of 13
Because my taste for salt is really over the top, and i do like the burst of flavor that amazinggrace's husband seems to go for, i always undersalt to my taste. And always have a salt shaker on the table
.
A salt shaker is common tableware in the states, but here very few people have one . If i ask the host for some salt, i find they often get offended (as if there were a "perfect" saltiness and i'm suggesting they didn;t reach it). I have to explain that i like things too salty, and i'm unusual etc etc. But when they do bring the salt to the table it's usually in the box it's sold in with teh top ripped open (food boxes here rarely have a way of opening them that isn;t drastic like that, but that's another topic). In restaurants where they don;t have those awful dishes with a pile of salt in that everyone pinches with their finger, the salt shakers are so full of rice and the holes are so small that often nothing comes out at all.
I find it bizarre to think that anyone could think that everyone likes the same amount, which is why i undersalt and provide a shaker. It would be like thinking everyone likes the same amount of sugar in their coffee.

I don;t want to suggest hereditary proneness to liking salt, but when my daughter was a baby starting solids, i followed the recommendations of the books and put no salt in her food. She really wasn;t much interested, ate solids with disinterest and very little of them at all unless they were sweet sorts of food, like cream of wheat or applesauce. Once she was refusing string beans (she had graduated to finger food). I said, the heck with this, let me try some salt, dipped the tip in and she tasted it, her eyes lit up and she ate every one with gusto.
Turned out she was more of a salt fiend than me. They sell coarse salt here (to salt pasta water) which is bigger than kosher salt, and i would find her taking a little pile of it and munching it.
My mother ate so salty you could see the white on the food in her dish.
None of us, by the way, ever had high blood pressure.

I always figured there must be a physiological need - maybe because we tend to sweat so much (all that time in the kitchen, you know). (In fact, when i'm overheated and thirsty, i often crave salty things, potato chips, for instance which most people say make them thirstier.) But it's striking that we all seem to have the same tendency. Mine might be just because my mother oversalted all our food, but my daughter never had anything with added salt, sicne i made all her baby food, and she wasn;t interested until it got salted. Go figure.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #7 of 13
I saw a National Geographic article that showed monkeys on Hokkaido salting their food by dipping it in ocean water, I think it was. Really cool.
post #8 of 13
Over the last few years I have been cutting back on the salt somewhat, but certainly not leaving it out altogether. When we have guests for dinner I explain that the salt levels may be reduced from what they expect, feel free to add more to taste, I won't be offended. But in general I've been trying to be more aware of salt levels in food, and am often surprised by the saltiness in processed, prepared and restaurant foods. Salt is a seasoning, not a crutch.

I do like salt. Yesterday I scarfed down several anchovy filets right out of the can, nice and salty, yum! My wife hates anchovies, I probably shouldn't tell her that there were two cooked into the shrimp and fresh tomato topping I put on last night's linquini.

I scrambled a couple of eggs this morning with a sharp cheese, and added no extra salt, and even no pepper. I cooked them in lots of salted butter, and there was just a bit of saltiness in the cheese which was enough to make them quite tasty.

So I'm going to say I'm not a salt fiend, not an oversalter, but I do on occasion go on salt binges Why do I have this sudden craving for some french fries??

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ths is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, not to jump off subject but my OCD is taking over. I HATE when people don't cut their hair, or are afraid of cutting their hair. I hate when people on make over shows cry when their hair gets cut off. Yes you might have a hard time getting the salt out of your food but HAIR GROWS BACK.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #10 of 13
Haha:bounce:, made me laugh. Yeah, hair grows back but not in time for dinner. I keep mine short, by the way. I like getting haircuts.
post #11 of 13
I used to like food very much saltier than I do now. Somewhere along the line I reduced the amount of salt I added to recipes. When we eat out, I feel that a lot of food is too salty for me. Perhaps this is because I've stopped using most processed foods and cook most meals from scratch. I don't eat much deli meat, which I feel is too salty to enjoy.

One salty seasoning I've never been able to give up is Knorr's Aromat (in the yellow container). I've been using it on vegetables and eggs for about 30 years now. I do use salt in cooking, but just enough to season meat and poultry. I use kosher salt or sea salt for cooking, fleur du sel for finishing. (A friend gave me a lovely jar of it. :D)

As for pepper, a plate of eggs isn't ready to eat unless I've had a few grinds from the peppermill! :bounce:
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post #12 of 13
I've never cared for salt much, except on fried foods. In fact, until I started cooking professionally, I never salted anything. Now I understand that foods need a little salt for flavor.

But when I worked in a fine-dining restaurant, the cooks there were salt crazy! The food for the customers was usually salted properly, but the family meals they made for the staff were sometimes so salty, the food would burn my mouth. The guys were also fiends for hot sauce. It didn't take me long to learn to take a TINY taste of my lunch, to check for heat and salt!
post #13 of 13
i tend to undersalt things and dont use much salt at home on the table, the 3 things i consistantly put a little extra salt on is tomatoes, eggs, potatoes

my blood pressure is up a bit at the moment and i have a genetic predisposition to stuff like that so im going through some major life changes at the moment doing more exercise, meditation, deep breathing and reducing the salt intake.
I have started using a lo salt product which has 66% less sodium and more potassium so hopefully that will help
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

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when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
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