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Lew Larason: Thoughts from an Epicure -- To salt or not to salt?


Some folks have a love-hate relationship with salt. In our home, Patti prefers food unsalted.

She doesn’t hate it, just likes food better without it. I don’t like salty food. But I do like a pinch of salt on fresh tomatoes and cooked eggs in any form. I don’t add salt to anything I’m cooking. Instead, I use a lot of garlic powder, black pepper, and fresh or newly dried herbs.

If you check the “nutrition facts” on food containers at the supermarket, you’ll notice sodium, aka salt, in nearly everything. Some foods, especially frozen vegetables, have no added salt. However, some items with “no salt added” tell you on the packaging that it is not a salt-free food because many have salt in their makeup.

Salt has been used as a food preservative for centuries. I remember my grandfather would preserve fresh pork with saltpeter, salt, and pepper to keep it for future use.

Growing up, salt always was on the table. I was intrigued to notice my grandmother had a little glass container of salt by her plate. Occasionally, she would take a pinch of it to season her food.

As I got older, I discovered this was common in some homes. There were a “master salt” and smaller individual salts for each adult.

Although we should back off from the heavy use of salt, it’s important for our bodies. Our blood, tears, and perspiration have salt in their make-up. In fact, salt was so important that it was used as part of a Roman soldier’s wages, if he was “worth his salt.”

In the 19th century, salt became more plentiful. Nearly everyone could afford it. Now, we have different types of salt. I like sea salt and kosher. Though I use very little, I alternate between these two.

Enjoy and stay safe!

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