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Sep 2, 2006 03:01 AM

no salt and pepper shakers on tables [moved from General Topics board]

Okay, this may be a controversial topic but who knows. What do you think about restos that don't provide salt and pepper shakers on their tables?

If you are a cook and someone eats at your place, do you get insulted when diners shake salt onto their food before tasting it?

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  1. I don't have a problem with a restaurant not providing salt and pepper shakers as long as the food is properly seasoned. I do dislike restaurants that offer to pepper your salad when you haven't even gotten a chance to taste it.

    As far as for my home I always put salt and pepper on the table and encourage guests to season to their taste. I do however feel insulted when someone seasons without tasting...that is in very poor 'taste' in my opinion.

    5 Replies
    1. re: iLoveFood

      I don't put out salt and pepper at home and don't expect to see it in restaurants. But I don't understand why others are insulted that people season their food before tasting it. I can overlook that pretty easily, it's a behavior that they're never thought through and they don't have well developed palates. But if someone were to season my food after tasting it, then I would be really insulted. They'd tasted it and found it lacking. I'm not saying that I would want them to suffer through a poorly seasoned meal, just that it would be clear that they'd assessed my food and concluded that it was not well prepared!!

      1. re: Kater

        I guess I'd rather they salted after tasting - that rather than assuming that my meal was poorly seasoned, they tasted it and the seasoning was not to their liking - ie. not salty enough. I've concluded that some people just like food saltier than others.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I have a friend who salts "Sea-Salt Fries." It's a habit. Nothing can ever be salty enough. As soo as the food gets to the table, out comes the salt! Salsa, chips, everything gets salted.


          1. re: TexasToast

            I once saw an entire family (4 kids and 2 adults) hijak salt shakers from other tables at a Mexican restaurant so they could individually salt every tortilla chip they ate.

            1. re: TexasToast

              Well, my friend's a little more civilized and asks for separate chip bowls and salt!


      2. I see people S&P (heavy on the pepper most of the time) their food all the time without tasting it first. It always makes me think of the scene in Mrs. Doubtfire where Robin Williams adds a huge amount of pepper to Pierce Brosnan's food, making him gag and then choke. I wonder if any chefs use white pepper, less visible--maybe--than regular/black or other kinds of pepper?

        I also put S&P shakers on the table, and yes, do feel insulted if they season without tasting first.

        1. After posting earlier I started thinking about this and it made me realize that if I'm at someone's house and there is no S&P on the table I NEVER ask for it (even if I feel that the food needs it).

          1. Actually, as a (home) cook, I do get a little insulted - especially at my idiot brother who immediately salts his entire plate heavily before tasting a thing - for him, I'm thinking of getting a trough and a salt lick and feeding him in the back yard.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wayne keyser

              Next time he comes over you should oversalt his plate before serving him and then let him salt it as might teach him a lesson

            2. Henry Ford, inventor of the Assembly Line, would invite potential new hires to his house for dinner. If anyone salted his food before tasting, he would not be hired. Its called pre-judging.

              (This story is told to new Ford Employees and is part of the inital display the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cathy

                It could also, though, be called knowing thyself. My Uncle Peter likes his food really, really, really salty. Far more salty than almost anyone else he's ever met. So he pretty much salts food by default - because food that makes him happy would be considered by almost anyone else to be a major cooking error. For him to taste it first would imply 'Well, maybe this is a crappy cook who oversalted the food, I guess I should check.'