How did my food get so salty?

How did my food get so salty?

The chef says no we don’t use very much salt. It is common a commercial problem in a commercial kitchen or restaurant.

I like salt – don’t get me wrong. What I don’t like is someone else salting my food for me. Salt tastes best when it is “variegated”. That is to say, some salt here and no salt there, so the tongue gets a calliope of different tastes.

The only way this can be achieved is to have a relatively salt free food. Low sodium food allows the customer to add his/her own salt from a salt shaker, unevenly here and there.

This is totally different from adding salt at the time of preparation.

The recipe may have to be modified. It does not necessarily have to be salt free. Some salt has to be used during cooking and serving if it is in the recipe.

Here’s the problem:

When the line cook prepares mashed potatoes, he uses a recipe. The recipe always calls for salt to be added to the boiling water. This is fine. The problem starts when the Master Chef tastes the potatoes. He can’t taste the salt because it’s mixed in with the potatoes, so naturally the Chief tosses in some salt. This is just the start of the problem.

Next, the restaurant owner comes by, tastes the best potatoes doesn’t get that little jolts of salt. So he goes ahead since he’s the owner and he tosses in a scoop of salt.

Next, the night shift comes in and the cook does the same thing. He tastes the potatoes. They seem kind of bland, so he tosses in a spoonful of salt.

Eventually, salt builds up to the point where the customer says “The mashed potatoes are too salty”. If the customer is feeling brave he ask the waiter to adk the cook and the waiter  comes back and says “The cook says the potatoes are not salty.”

The proof of salty food comes later on, when you feel the need to drink a lot of water, to counteract the excess salt.

Google for the phrase “too much salt” and you’ll see many reviews where people complain about too much salt. Here Wikipedia talks about campaigns to reduce salt. The following is from the Mayo Clinic –

Your kidneys naturally balance the amount of sodium stored in your body for optimal health. When your sodium levels are low, your kidneys essentially hold on to the sodium. When sodium levels are high, your kidneys excrete the excess in urine.

If for some reason your kidneys can’t eliminate enough sodium, the sodium starts to accumulate in your blood. Because sodium attracts and holds water, your blood volume increases. Increased blood volume makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, which increases pressure in your arteries. Such diseases as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease can make it hard for your kidneys to keep sodium levels balanced.


(c) 2014 John A. Peters,



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