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DC Deb
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Hi Everyone.

I would love your opinion on this topic. When you eat out, ideally, the food would be seasoned perfectly to your liking. If you had to pick one, would you rather have the food over-salted or under-salted?

I was talking with a few people at work about this. I am personally not a salt freak. I salt to a reasonable level and let guests add more salt as they see fit. I was told that I would be forgiven for over-salting but if I under-salt, people would think I cannot cook.

What's your take?

Thanks.

Deb

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Hi Everyone.

I would love your opinion on this topic. When you eat out, ideally, the food would be seasoned perfectly to your liking. If you had to pick one, would you rather have the food over-salted or under-salted?

I was talking with a few people at work about this. I am personally not a salt freak. I salt to a reasonable level and let guests add more salt as they see fit. I was told that I would be forgiven for over-salting but if I under-salt, people would think I cannot cook.

What's your take?

Thanks.

Deb

Absolutely undersalted, with the caveat that there is good, high-quality coarse salt available to mill. The examples I immediately thought of when I read your question were some of the original items at Adour (which were technically "undersalted"), and the otherwise-wonderful turtle soup I had the other evening at The Federalist (which was a bit oversalted, and there was nothing to be done about it). It takes a degree of confidence to slightly undersalt, and in no way does it mean you can't cook.

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Agreed that if those are my choices, undersalted is better because I can adjust that to taste. I find Hank's to be a bit undersalted to my palate but I like that it allows for the briny flavors of the seafood to come through and I can make a decision then whether to add salt or not.

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I would have to say that if a meal is undersalted at a restaurant, I am usually a bit disappointed. It sort of changes my mood towards the dish. I guess the same can be said for oversalting though. Either way, yes perfectly salted is preferred!

And like Don says, undersalting is definitely not a sign of a bad cook. You can't create complex flavor profiles with salt, only promote them.

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I agree with the above posters. I'm definitely more forgiving about undersalting than oversalting. I'd much prefer to add salt to my taste than be served an oversalted dish that is unenjoyable or, worse, inedible. It seems like I've experienced oversalting more frequently in higher end settings. I think the use of other seasonings in interesting ways is the sign of a good cook :)

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I hate getting over-salted food. Put a shaker on the table and I can add it if I want to. I'm in the position of cooking Christmas dinner for someone who really, really has to watch her salt intake, so I'm planning on under-salting everything and having the shaker within everybody's reach. You can always add salt, but you can't take it out.

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The sense of saltiness is very adjustable (really). When one dish is over-salted, often other dishes seasoned by the same person will also be too salty. When the chef is told by his doctor to cut way down on the salt, in a week or two salt sense will adjust, and customers will find that under salting is the theme.

Why restaurants don't provide salt on the table, I think is a matter of chef ego. Athough this is a topic is a frequent topic of conversation, (while waiting for a table) along with: "Is requesting ketchup a legitimate request,or a deliberate insult to the chef, or just sign of a palate trained at the golden archs?"

Modern dining rules probably allow patrons to bring their own salt shaker, but I would not be surprised if at some servers would give you the disdainful (and pitying) stare.

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