Are health-conscious chefs killing us?

I just got back from paradise. I really shouldn’t have anything to complain about, but I just can’t help it. The scrambled eggs were the final straw.

I have this long-standing belief that chefs who don’t use salt or who cut way back on salt aren’t doing us any favors. Whenever I am hit with something as terribly bland as the scrambled eggs on the Grand Wailea Resort‘s grand breakfast buffet, I add salt to try to salvage some flavor. Everytime I do this, I am adding more salt to the dish than would have been needed to give it flavor during cooking. Worse, sometimes I ruin the dish with an overdose of sodium.

I believe that every dish that is prepared undersalted for health’s sake does more harm in the long run because people end up oversalting their dishes trying to squeeze out a bit of flavor. I have absolutely no evidence to back up my ideas, just a gut feeling. Of course one part of that feeling is my gut (ok, tongue) telling me that the dish could have been much better. Another part though is the knowledge that I am sprinkling as much salt on a single serving as I would add to an entire pot of whatever dish if I were cooking it.

I am not afraid of salt in my cooking. I know that it is the salt that pulls the flavors together. I know that a judicious amount of salt will make the flavors come alive. I also know that not enough salt during cooking can’t be salvaged. Adding salt only makes the dish salty and does little to truly enhance the flavor. I’m an amateur home chef and I know this. Why can’t these salt-phobes give us just a bit more. They could probably save us from our oversalting selves. They could definitely save some of these sad dishes.

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3 thoughts on “Are health-conscious chefs killing us?

  • August 4, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    I absolutely agree with you about the undersalting thing. Though I don’t use tons of salt either while cooking or at the table, I do think I put in enough salt to boost the flavor. Some things, like grits, MUST have the proper amount of salt during cooking in order to have any taste at all. I hate ordering grits in a restaurant for this reason — they just don’t do it right!

  • August 7, 2006 at 7:03 am

    I have to agree with you.
    That is why I never leave home without my pocket sized container of fleur de sel!!!

    Just kidding…that would get expensive.

  • August 20, 2006 at 11:13 am

    I deliberately tend to undersalt (according to my taste) while cooking. I think the last bit of salt should be added at the table according to the eater’s preference. But it’s a matter of cooking philosophy.

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