If there was ever a factor that might tag me as the black sheep of the family it is this: my aversion to salt. Throughout my family, we have hard core salt lovers, including my own parents. As a child, I remember my Dad putting salt on his food without even tasting it first, which always seemed odd to me. I also remember my Mom checking her food first then occasionally sprinkling salt over my food and me whining in an exasperated tone “Mo-o-o-om, I don’t want more salt”. The fact is, I never really acquired the taste for it… even to this day.
I am not saying I don’t eat salt at all, of course I do. It is in everything. But in the war of salty vs. sweet, in my opinion, sweet wins. A full salt shaker will probably last a good 2 years in my house. A box of salt may very well last longer, used exclusively for cooking and baking. When guests come over, I have to make a concerted effort to remember to put the shakers on the table as they rarely get a workout when it’s just me. How many people do you know who have to dust the salt shaker?… it’s not to the point of cob webs yet, but some day perhaps.
To navigate the salty snack food universe, if I get a craving for nuts, I will often get the unsalted ones and then add just one small sprinkle of salt myself. Potato chips can get dangerous for me because if I eat regular ones, I can eat a handful and put away the bag after that. But put a bag of sodium-reduced ones in front of me (which I think taste better anyway), don’t blink, as they will disappear quickly. The same goes with pretzels, one handful and I’m fine for the day. I like them, but the salt itself is what deters me from going overboard… that is unless I can get someone to lick the salt off them first.
Unfortunately, I have not been so lucky with popcorn. I don’t know what it is but with some popcorn brands, I wake up the next day with my lips very red and plumped up… not a great look on a dude. To feed the popcorn craving, I have been contemplating the idea of getting a hot air corn popper (again) but all I remember from my first one was having a disappointingly high number of unpopped kernels in each batch. Plus, I really don’t have space to add another gadget to my kitchen… Hmm.. maybe if I got rid of the salt shaker.
As I get older and seemingly retain water like a sponge (temporarily), excess salt really does me no favours in that regard. Without going into too much detail, the day after consuming saltier-than-usual meals can be a little inconvenient if I have back-to-back meetings.
Sadly, tequila shots are off my list too. Just the coordination required for the salt, the lemon and the tequila is a skill in itself. If there was a “Tequila Shooters with the Stars” type show, demonstrating world-class tequila choreography, I might be interested in watching, just out of envy since I suck at it badly myself. But then add the salt factor and I quickly lose interest.
If you put a Margarita or a Bloody Mary drink in my hand, you might see me grimace on the first sip. That is the salt talking, but I heard that bartenders should only be putting the salty garnish on 2/3 of the glass. I don’t know if that happens or not, I don’t order them often enough, but the bottom line is that I can think of numerous other drinks I would choose first, before enjoying a mouthful of gritty, salty texture …for the fun of it.
Given the advice to watch sodium consumption, I am surprised that there isn’t more of a movement toward sodium-reduced products or modifications, even for folks like me who just prefer the more natural taste of their food.
But I am really delighted that some companies are taking an interest in sodium-reduced formulations of their products including soups and potato chips. To me, the companies who make the effort are definitely worth their salt!
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