FRIDAY FOOD THING
I have been coming up with a few tricks while pursuing my quest for cutting back on my sodium intake, which most medical authorities agree, should be about 2,000 milligrams per day. What the heck is a milligram, anyhow? Well, 2,400 milligrams of table salt is roughly 1 TEASPOON. Not a lot of salt.
In Europe, where I spent part of my youth, salt and pepper are usually served tableside in small “pinch” bowls (which I still prefer using), rather than shakers: it is not ill-mannered to reach into a communal pinch bowl to pluck out a pinch or two of salt, or pepper, although nowadays I prefer pepper grinders to pepper pinch bowls. Since I use sea salt exclusively, and since sea salt is usually coarse, I grind it in a mortar and pestle until it is very fine — like popcorn salt. Extremely fine-ground salt, I discovered, has a lot more BANG than normal-grained salt: the powdered fineness overpowers taste buds such that — psychologically, at least — less salt is required.
Each morning I dutifully grind 1 TEASPOON* of sea salt into dust, and put it in my empty salt pinch bowl. That is my allotted “raw salt bank” for the day — a sobering, pitiful amount. In a perfect word, that’s all the salt I’m supposed to consume on any given day. When it’s gone, it’s gone. The neat thing, though, is I can peek into the bowl at any moment and know exactly how much salt is still available for that day.
Works for me.
Unfortunately, here’s the rub: if one uses prepared foods and you also use all of your salt bank: you’re just fooling yourself. So, if you prepare a box-mix of something that contains, let’s say, 1,000 milligrams of salt per serving, you must subtract 1/2 TEASPOON (that’s half of your daily allotment!) from your raw salt bank. The process, aside from being painful, works. I have found from exploring my personal prepared foods habits, that if I begin my day with 1/2 TEASPOON* of salt in my salt bank instead of a full teaspoon, the guilt goes away. But the pain level increases.
There is no free ride.
I suspect my salt bank will change with the seasons, like in the summer, when I eat more and more vegetables from my garden, and less, highly salted prepared foods.
Prepared foods’ salt contents are killers. Why do prepared-foods manufactures insist in putting so much salt into their seasoned products and mixes? Why don’t manufactures either include a separate, sealed salt envelope inside the box, or omit the salt completely, thereby giving the consumer a measure of credit for being smart enough to season their own food?
What an insult.
Hey, manufactures: ARE YOU LISTENING? Let us add our OWN salt to your over-salted mixes and canned goods — think of all the money you’ll save by not having to buy all that salt to add to your products!