Good Food Blog
Salt snobsPosted at 12:02PM, 18 April 2008 by Graham Holliday - Blogger
Salt snobs, I was listening to 'sleb chef Anthony Bourdain wax disdainfully about salt snobbery that first made me aware of the phenomenon. He was in a well-known restaurant in New York when his course arrived with a selection of eight or nine different salts. He liked the restaurant, but the sodium chloride overdose "was too much". I'm all for chefs pushing boundaries, but salt is salt, no?
The only excuse I can think of for excusing the salt snobs of this world is texture. Fleur de sel is indeed better than table salt because it's rough, but it's still sodium chloride. Sea salt has the whiff of the healthily outdoor about it, but it's still sodium chloride. There is nothing in it that makes it taste any different from any other salt.
So, is salt snobbery a texture thing and nothing else? Or just plain snobbery? Maybe I am all wrong, maybe my taste buds are dysfunctional for not knowing my Murray River Australian Pinks from Himalayan Pinks .
Off the meathook tries (and fails) to convince me that I'm missing out with a recommended way of tasting different salts with advice such as the following, "Get a couple kinds of salt, and definitely include the old Morton's iodized, fine sea salt, one of the colored salts, and a flaky clean salt like fleur de sel or Maldon flake. Make people taste them without knowing what they are and with their eyes closed. Ask them to let the salt sit on their tongue and have them think about what they are tasting. Have the group share thoughts. It's fun and you will be surprised how different they are." Hmm, will I? It's still sodium chloride, innit.
Hey You! steps in to add more evangelical words, "To me a good salt is like a good bottle of wine - you have to choose the correct one to go with the food you are preparing."
Can you honestly equate different salts with wine? At this point I referred to the Salt Primer recommended by the aforementioned Off the meathook. But even that and Slate's extensive taste test fail to convince me. OK, so some salts are iodized, some are not, some are off-colour, some are powdery or fine or rather granular, yet as tarted up as they may appear, they are still sodium chloride
That might be wallet bustingly expensive sodium chloride or the cheap as chips every day variety, but I won't be shelling out for snob salt anytime soon.