The salt shakers are among the pop culture staples of the restaurant industry since, well, as far back as anybody 30 years old and below can remember. These were a ubiquitous presence nearly everywhere, too, from the greasy diners to upscale restaurants like Peter Luger, a restaurant that serves the best steaks this side of the world. These weren’t just there for the salt either – bored kids used the salt shakers along with toothpicks and napkins to build a table fort while superstitious adults used to throw a pinch of salt over their life shoulder to ward off evil spirits.
But where are the salt shakers? If you’re the observant type, you would likely be asking the same question, and it’s a valid one, too, considering that you may want extra salt on your salad or steak. We asked ourselves the same question and here are a few answers that we think are valid.
#1 Chefs Don’t Want You to Ruin the Dishes
Keep in mind that chefs know that too much salt will ruin the dish – it upsets the balance between the flavors – so they take care to add just the right amount of salt. When you’re presented with a dish, it’s been seasoned with salt in such a way as to bring out the best flavors in it – neither lacking in salt nor overflowing with it.
So, when you add extra salt to a dish, you will likely ruin the balance of flavors in it. You won’t be able to appreciate the nuances of flavor in it, not to mention that it will become too salty and you’re going to complain about it. You will also be guilty of an old saying – when you salt your food at the table, you’re insulting the chef.
Well, of course, you can mask the salty flavor of the dish with acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, but it will also affect its overall flavor. You may want to add more water to the over-salted broth but, again, it will ruin the dish.
The bottom line: The absence of the salt shakers will remove the temptation of adding extra salt to an otherwise great dish.
#2 Nutritionist Don’t Want You to Consume Too Much Salt
Emphasis must be made that salt isn’t just a crucial seasoning ingredient in food without which food tastes bland. Salt is also crucial for the body’s normal functions!
Sodium, a key ingredient in table salt, aids in the proper regulation of blood flow and blood pressure as well as in the transmission of messages between the nerves and muscle fibers. Chloride, another key ingredient, aids in proper digestion. When salt is added to dishes, it doesn’t just make the food more delicious but it also replenishes the sodium and chloride levels in the body for healthy functioning.
As with most things in life, too much salt can be harmful to health! We aren’t just talking about the consumption of processed and canned foods, which have high salt content to preserve their quality, but also of prepared foods in restaurants. Think about the amount of fast-food items, from hamburgers and hotdogs to French fries and onion rings, you have consumed over the years and you will be alarmed at the excess amounts of salt you have consumed.
What happens with too much salt in your diet? For one thing, you will experience bloating because your body holds extra fluids in its cells. This is because your kidneys, among your body’s main excretory organs that filter waste from your blood, keep more water in your body. Your kidneys usually maintain a normal electrolytes-to-water ratio but the consumption of too much salt adversely affects it; electrolytes include potassium and sodium.
When your kidney keep more water in the system, it causes a wide range of undesirable health symptoms. These include edema, or the swelling of the hands, arms, legs, feet and ankles, as well as high blood pressure caused by the buildup of more blood coursing through your arteries and veins; the buildup causes the blood vessels to become stiffer and, thus, less flexible.
If you live in New York City, you will find that restaurants mark the dishes on their menus with sodium levels above the recommended daily value of 2,300 milligrams. The regulation is intended to aid New Yorkers in making healthy decisions, salt-wise.
It’s also worth pointing out that salt and pepper shakers take up room on the table, even when these are relatively small compared to the plates and glasses. With a finite space on the table, it makes sense to remove the salt and pepper shakers, especially as not too many people use them anyway. Plus, there’s also the sad fact that some people like to steal whatever can be placed in their purses or bags including the shakers – the loss adds up to the restaurants’ costs over time.