June 2024 Food Challenge: Salt and Pepper 🧂

Salt and pepper are the most common seasonings used for foods, either during food preparation or sprinkled on top of cooked foods.

For cooked foods immediately prior to eating, do you use (pick the one which you do either all the time or most often):

  • pepper only
  • salt only
  • both salt and pepper
  • don’t ever add either salt or pepper
0 voters

Are there particular cooked foods what you always salt/pepper? Let us know below which foods you always season and those you never do.

The most interesting or considered responses will be awarded a Food Challenge Badge.

May 2024 Food Challenge Badges have been awarded to @Emkayji @jen, @Guitarfish. @vax2000, @Gaby and @phb thank all those which contributed to last month’s challenge.

4 Likes

I buy unsalted groceries, when available.
Then add a small amount of salt to:

  • peanut butter
  • almond butter
  • eggs, if eaten alone
  • home-made tabouli (one pinch per large bowl)

Salt might be:

  • regular NaCl with iodine
  • Potassium salt
  • Himalayan salt
  • Tamari/soy sauce

My greatest use of salt is for gargles and mouth rinses. For colds, mouth ulcers, sore gums.

6 Likes

Gosh that’s a huge question!
We season almost all savoury food cooked from scratch with salt if it needs it, ie.taste first, then add salt sparingly as needed. If stocks/sauces etc have been used in the cooking, if often doesn’t need more salt. Pepper is usually freshly ground black unless making a white sauce, for which I have a pot of ground white pepper.
I have fine salt in a salt pig for seasoning at the stove, crystal salt in a grinder for on the plate, and coarse salt for pickling and preserving. I also use smoked salt when making chilli beef, and somehow acquired a pot of seaweed salt which I’ve never used (yet). I have used Maldon salt but don’t consider it worth the price, and those pretty pink crystals look nice in a grinder, but that’s about it.
So, in no particular order:
Potatoes: always pepper (white for mashed, black otherwise) and salt
Pasta dishes: always salt in the water, because I read the water should be ‘salty like the Mediterranean Sea’
Bread: salt in the dough mix
Rice: no salt if having with an Asian dish, otherwise a pinch of salt
Porridge - ALWAYS a pinch of salt - it’s tasteless without
Grilled meat: always salt and pepper after cooking - I know the jury is out on whether best to do so before or after cooking; I do it after, just in case salting before cooking draws out the moisture. I do season chicken before roasting/baking though.
Eggs: always salt and pepper, whether they’re boiled, poached, scrambled or fried
Salads: dressing is always seasoned with both salt and pepper
Cooked vegetables: generally seasoned with salt, often with pepper too, especially mushrooms, swede and tomatoes
All stews/ragus/soups and other slow cooks - season the final dish with both at the end of cooking, because adding stock and/or evaporation may affect the final level, so best to do just prior to serving the finished dish
Asian dishes: seasoned with soy, oyster or fish sauce for salt, and pepper, ginger, or chilli (or all three) for heat.
In other words, season just about everything, except dessert (and even then, I always add a pinch of salt when baking!).

9 Likes

I use Pepper&Salt with eggs both ‘sunny side up’ and omlettes, asparagus,BBQ Meat, never with already salted foods like bacon,kippers,and am circumspect with corned beef in tins, which already has a fair quantity of salt but goes well drained if its fat,with pepperand sauteed onions.

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My (late) great aunt Mina said that salt was essential sometimes, especially on eggs. She said:

“Kissing a man without a moustache was like eating an egg without salt.”

I hardly need to say great uncle Wilhelm had one just like his namesake the Kaiser.

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We use added salt sparingly and usually do not routinely add salt to a meal as served. It’s a dietary choice. We will add it to during cooking if necessary, EG pasta water. Pepper I’ll use on some vegetables.

Many condiments contain salt in various amounts. We use mustards, mayo, chutney, etc - hence we are not zero salt. As many everyday foods contain or can contain salt including bread and bread rolls, it’s to ask whether we all consume excess to the needs of better health? Or even know how much!

5 Likes

That’s pretty much what we do, too. I will often add a little freshly-grated black pepper to savoury foods if I haven’t already added chilli sauce or included chilli and other spices in cooking.

Instead of salt, I add a little white vinegar when cooking rice, and plain yoghurt when making mashed potatoes (from unsalted boiled spuds). The slight tartness seems to avert complaints from the rest of the family about bland food. Or maybe they’ve learned to taste the food, not the salt. But I haven’t banned the salt shaker from the table, so they can add salt if they dare. :wink:

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I grew up with a little box of cooking salt beside the stove, to go into virtually everything that was cooked. I discarded that idea long time ago. I prefer unsalted vegetables so I can enjoy their taste. I add bacon to stews to provide a little salt, and use salt and pepper if the recipe requires, as in porridge. If I’m using sauce in a recipe, I take into account the salt content of that. I never add salt or pepper at the table, and cringe at the sight of others shaking enthusiastically to change the taste of food that’s already perfectly good. Ruin the taste, in my opinion.

5 Likes

I never add salt or pepper to my food, at least since my teens in the 1960s when it was routine in my family to add a small spoon of salt to the side of the dinner plate. For some reason, I decided to wean myself off it. For medical reasons I have had to lower my salt intake further in the last 20 years. Since looking at this topic I have come to the conclusion that I am a ‘supertaster’, which implies that I have more taste buds than the average person. I ticked 4 out of 6 questions pointing to my being a supertaster. However, supertasters tend to love salt which apparently masks bitter tastes of certain foods. So maybe I will have to look for another reason why I can’t stand the taste of alcohol.

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No, I’d say you can’t stand alcohol because you dislike that taste. To a supertaster, presumably any taste they find nasty will be extra-nasty.

And “Each to their own taste”! A lot of people love red wine, and think I’m strange because I dislike its taste and won’t drink it. I just think there’s something wrong with their tastebuds.

And not all supertasters are hooked on salt. According to this article, research has shown that supertasters do not necessarily over-salt their food, although they might like salty tastes. They detect all of the flavours in the food, including the salt, more intensely - so something that tastes bland to a non-supertaster, making them reach for salt, might seem salty to the supertaster.

The new research, published in Physiology and Behavior, contains another surprise. Supertasters, for all their love of salt, actually reach for the salt shaker less often.

“We think what’s going on here is that when supertasters get to the table they’re more responsive to the salt already in food,” Hayes says. “Whereas to non-tasters, food is perceived as bland, so they add more.”

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An entry to the unusual seasoning draw.

Do you ever have a banana sandwich? Have you tried it with sprinkle of salt? Treating this just as a taste experience that you should have at least once give it a try.

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My elderly neighbour used to say ‘salt at the stove, but not at the table’. We use black pepper generously, although I have white pepper and salt on eggs and tomatoes.

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I have been told by naturopaths, the only salt that you should use, and not much of that is iodised salt.

I usually put a little bit of iodised salt in when I am cooking and pepper after it is cooked.

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Keeping a low salt diet is standard advice from any medical practitioner, some of us have more trouble doing so than others.

As for iodized salt it depends on the rest of your diet how important that is. Some soils contain quite a bit and so food grown there contains it, also seafood contains iodine. Iodine is an essential element to metabolism and so if you don’t get it naturally then iodised salt is very useful.

I love salt to the point where after I have sprinkled, I then need to sprinkle more. I never salt when cooking because veggies get steamed (including spuds). I’ve tried salt alternatives, but they are potassium based for the most part and for me have caused all kinds of issues (its how I discovered that I don’t need to take potassium tabs when having diuretics). MY bod LOVES to hold onto potassium and then, theres cramps and spasms. I do limit salt because of oedema and heart failure… I’m getting used to not salting most veggies, but potato. Potato MUST have salt. And butter. Scrambled eggs: salt and black pepper (only time I have pepper).

I love salt. Maybe thats why I crave chips at times.

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Have you tried a little acid instead of salt? My salt-loving family quite like my mashed spuds, which are cooked without salt then mashed with Greek-style plain yoghurt; and unsalted steamed rice, which has about a tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of uncooked rice added to the water.

But I know! Some things just HAVE to have some salt. Even I will add a little salt when cooking porridge. :wink:

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I make Peanut and Almond Butter at home. Store bought is just too expensive. As well as Cashew, Hazelnut, Walnut, Sometimes I mix and match so it’s not jut almond butter, it’s almond hazelnut butter.

As well I make Nutella.

Eggs only need a bit of salt after you’ve plated it up.

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Fantastic list.

I was told to salt steak prior to cooking . As salt tenderises the meat. Longer resting period allows the salt to further penetrate the muscle structure of the meat for a more thoroughly seasoned flavor.

I have watched Marco Pierre White Cook Steak and he seasoned prior to cooking…

I make Peanut and Almond Butter at home.

Yes, store-bought is expensive, especially almond, macadamia and other true nut butters. Which gadget do you use to make yours?

Eggs only need a bit of salt after you’ve plated it up.
I agree.

1 Like