Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Sep 16, 2013 01:17 PM

Should Salt Have a Place at the Table-Room for Debate, NYTimes

Source: Salt shakers were once as much a part of a restaurant table setting as knives and forks. Now many restaurants are doing without them. Sometimes they’re absent for health reasons, but more often chefs feel the customer doesn’t need to season the food.

Should dining tables always have salt shakers, or is it time to do without them?

Some interesting people weigh in. What say you, Chowhound?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. These chefs need to get over themselves. People have different tastes. Some I know even salt their food before they taste it. I think they are idiots for doing so, but hey, it is their food and their mouths. I'm not eating it. I'm just happy that I was able to train my husband to put the catsup on the side of the fries so that I can enjoy a few (I hate catsup).

    Personally, I don't eat salt. I just don't like salty food except for pretzels. Which I eat because of the salt. If food is salted, all I taste is the salt. Ditto for sweet things. I just seem to be very sensitive to both flavors. So most of the food that comes out of a restaurant kitchen is already too salty for me. I would rather they hold back on the salt in the kitchen and let people salt to taste.

    But this notion that chefs have that their food is perfect for everyone, every single time they send it out? Nonsense. This is like Carole Greenwood, a former DC-area chef who was very intolerant of customer requests. A woman who was allergic to peanuts asked that the peanuts be left off her dessert. Greenwood refused. There were reports that Greenwood would come out of the kitchen to yell at customers who asked for changes.

    So why do they allow condiments? Why does every salad have to include a dance with an enormous pepper grinder? Isn't the salad absolute perfection the way they sent it out? Cream and sugar for the coffee? Isn't the coffee perfect the way they sent it out?

    1. I am reminded of a fairy tale where the princess tells her father, the king, she loves him as much as salt. He is insulted and banishes her from the kingdom. One day she returns and works in the king's kitchen. She prepares him a meal without salt. The King is not happy and calls out the kitchen staff. Father and daughter are reunited. Only then does he understand his daughter's love for him. Everyone lives happily ever after.

      Sadly, I rarely have a meal that is seasoned properly. One of my big pet peeves is asking for salt.

      1 Reply
      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        Thank you for sharing the joy of a good fairy tale within the context of this thread :)

        for those unfamiliar:

      2. l have been carrying a small wooden box from Bretagne for many decades with me to restaurants containing fleur de sel. While that salt is primarily used for texture, consuming iodized salt while living near the ocean is just plain silly.
        So if they do not put it on the table, ok, l wlil just use my own.

        In France at lunch today, there was a small dish of fleur de sel on the table and every table for use.

        1. Yes.

          No two people have the same sensitivity to salt; what tastes right to the chef may not to the diner.

          Who's paying, btw.

          I almost never need to salt my food, my husband always does.

          1. This is stupid, you pay for it, you put what you want on it. I'll bet the chef wouldn't come out and bitch at a big movie star or politition if they salted something. A number of these young modern chefs are full of themselves, and a bunch are a flash in the pan. Do a follow up on some of these people in a couple of years and you will find they are doing something else.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mrbigshotno.1

              I'm not as quick to dismiss the folks responding to the question posed by NYT as you are because they each underscore the differing opinions and preferences (like any of us commenting here).

              I think the conversation is very interesting.