The S Word

These days I often find myself with the telly on in the background and considering my interests it's no surprise that it is usually on one of the food channels. 

I don't often get time to sit and watch a program but I still find the sound soothing and it makes the house feel somehow more friendly, it is also a great way to get some inspiration while planning the weekly menu or shopping list.

One thing I have noticed though is how often the discussions turn to seasoning, you often hear someone pointing out that a dish is over seasoned, under seasoned or perfectly seasoned. I find this a bit puzzling as we all have different pallets so what is perfectly seasoned for one person might be completely unacceptable to someone else yet so many chefs claim to have the answer and seem very indignant if their food is not to everyones liking.

What ever happened to putting some salt and pepper on the table and allowing everyone to adjust the seasoning to their own taste without upsetting the chef's ego?

I know these days everyone is very concerned about their health and I can't even remember how many times I have heard of people cutting salt out of their diet because they believe it to be bad for them, however they seem to forget that we all actually need some salt to function normally. Salt not only helps to maintain the flow of water in the body but the sodium ion itself plays a role in the electrical signaling of the nervous system. In Roman times soldiers even received part of their salary paid out to them in salt, bringing about the still popular expression of someone being worth his salt.

I'm not saying everyone should rush out and start eating salt by the spoonfuls, but I do feel it has been getting so much bad press in the last few years that these days a lot of prepared food come across quite bland and lacking in that little something to make it stand out.

Salt is not just great for preserving food but it also has the ability to enhance other flavors, bringing them together and lifting a dish to new heights. Not convinced? Try and make a basic curry from scratch, adding all your normal herbs and spices but leaving out the salt, once cooked have a taste - then add the salt, give it a good stir and taste again. You will be amazed at the difference, without the salt the flavors will be dull and somehow separate, but once you add the salt it becomes a complete dish with all these subtle flavors coming alive and making it a real joy to eat.

Rediscover this simple, essential seasoning and give your taste buds a real treat.