16 January 2010

Salt: Sometimes Enough is Enough (Burlington, VT: Church Street Tavern)

We need to talk about something, and that something is SALT. First I'll tell you about my afternoon which will eventually explain why we need to talk about salt.

Yesterday I stopped in at the Church Street Tavern to kill some time and to enjoy a cold beer and a good book on a damp Burlington, Vermont afternoon. I chatted it up with the bartender who was very friendly and attentive, but also gave me alone time to flip through a few pages in peace. I love when bartenders and waitstaff pick up on your vibe.
I took a look at the menu with no intentions of ordering food, because it's just what I do in a place I've never been to before.
From what I saw, it was nothing special. Typical bar food. Fries, chicken wings, and a page or two of a variety of salads and sandwiches. About 10 beers on tap, local to imported. The place was small, but in a good location, and it really picked up during lunchtime on a Friday. Although the menu didn't stand out, the food people were ordering around me looked delicious! The fries were perfectly golden brown, the fish and chips looked awesome, the sandwiches looked fresh and on delicious rolls, the chili looked so fulfilling. Everyone around me devoured their meals, regardless of the pretty decent portions.

I suppose this is a review of a restaurant I've never eaten at, but that's okay, right? Will you forgive me?

Anyway, this place was warm and cozy, and everyone was friendly. I think if your in the area and need to pop in somewhere for a cheap burger and beer, I'd try this place. It's worth a shot.

Continuing on... I was reading, minding my own business (as much as one can while peeking at everyones food) when I looked to my right and there was a guy. There was a guy at the bar two seats down from me who was served a salad with a sliced steak on top. This guy did something that made me a little bit disgusted. Before he tasted any part of his meal, he grabbed the salt shaker. As he aimed the little shaker over his steak he violently shook it. And shook it. AND SHOOK IT. AND SHOOK IT!!!! AND SHOOK IT!!!!!!! Violently!!!! I was horrified.
Why? Dude sitting two seats away, why why WHY was it necessary to violently shake that much salt onto a meal that was probably already seasoned and salted but you couldn't have known because you didn't try it??? You shook the salt as if your life depended on it, and I promise you that it definitely did not. How did you know it needed salt? And how how HOW could you need that MUCH salt??? Baffling.

I cook, I bake, and I eat food. I know salt is important. I cook with salt. I like salt. In salts case, like many things, moderation is key. 1/4 cup of salt on a salad is not moderation.

Another question I have is, how can you eat it? I mean seriously, how do you eat something with that much salt without gagging? What if your insides shriveled up like a slug? If someone puts that much salt on a salad, I am willing to bet lots of salt goes on other things also. Another question, how do you survive with a habit like that? I just don't get it.

That brings me to another salting...Chinese food?!?!?! You guys must know some people who add salt to their Chinese food. The first time I ever heard of this someone asked me for salt while we were eating Chinese food and I thought they were kidding and didn't get them salt. Chinese food, extra salt, completely uncalled for.

I'm probably out of line. People should be able to eat food the way they want to eat it. I guess the question I have for those salty folks is this: Why?

Faithful readers, are you one of salt fiends I don't understand? Do you know someone who salts Chinese food? Are you disgusted from over-salting? Are you with me, with a lack of understanding why pounds of salt should be needed? Maybe I'm the weirdo for rarely seasoning my food once it's served. However you feel, let me know what you think about the salt abuse epidemic. Really, do let me know.

***Picture of salt generously contributed by an anonymous source.


  1. I just started reading that book a few days ago... weeird.

  2. I'm not huge on flavoring my food - I typically figure that someone has pain-stakingly tested and retested their dish to (perceived) perfection but it is rare that I salt my dish. HOWEVER, a certain ex-boyfriend of mine...we'll call him um, Jeff. Jeff, used to salt McDonald's FRIES! Serisously!!! McDonald's fries - and then he would dip it ketchup which is also quite salty - OMG!

    What is actually interesting to me (and I will send you the book if you'd like) is that Salt used to be worth more than gold or silver. In fact, the word "salary" originated from the word "sal", sal = salt. It's very interesting how salt has progressed from seeming invaluableness to worthlessness and wastefulness. Just a thought...

    Saltily Yours,

  3. Oh gross...no wonder it didn't work out.

    The history of salt reminds me of lobsters. They were once the 'poor mans food' and now you can pay upwards of $100 for a freakin' lobster at a restaurant. Maybe they put salt on it, who knows.

  4. Haha, my current boyfriend participates in the act of salting before tasting. He thinks I'm crazy when I mention it but I actually just sent him a link to this post to prove my point haha.

    I went to boarding school and one of the house-parents I lived with would make you scrub the kitchen floor if you salted your food before tasting it; her reasoning was that it made you look ignorant.