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Anything But Bland!

December 5, 2011 by Kenton Delisle

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Anything but bland

I remember learning at an early age that some of the magic in my grandma’s cooking was her fearlessness. Seasonings were her weapons of mass consumption.

It didn’t matter if it was her liberal use of onions and garlic, herbs, pepper or salt, she was never afraid of too much. While this did result in the odd dish being a little heavy in one or more of these ingredients, it also conveyed to us  a confidence in shooting for full flavour - taste, first and foremost. However, when I return to my hometown nowadays, I find much of the cooking by my relatives to be quite a bit saltier than what I am now used to.Has it changed since I grew up, or have my own tastes/perceptions changed?

I like to think my grandma’s “no shame in bold flavours, just don’t let it be bland” approach rubbed off on me. In my kitchen I tend to reach for herbs, pepper (lots of black pepper, one of my grandma’s signature touches), citrus, wine, or anything else I can add to draw out the flavour I am striving for. I don’t exclude salt by any means, but I often add it after I have added the other flavours I am looking for to highlight these flavours. To me salt is not “the seasoning”.

Maybe my palate has changed. Maybe my world of seasonings has grown and I have reduced my salt intake over time out of preference or other flavours, instead of as a conscious choice as a dietitian? Huh, maybe it can be that easy.

I don’t think of it as reducing salt or limiting sodium; I think of it as an opportunity to explore new flavours and appreciate how a little salt improves a dish, but doesn’t own it.

Have you noticed a change in your perception of salt?

~ Kenton

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Comments (7)


Posted on Tuesday December 6, 2011 a 9:43pm

Yes...I don't use as much salt any more. I grow my own herbs in the summer and dry them. They're great in sauces! I like using olive oil as well.


Posted on Thursday December 8, 2011 a 10:32am

Absolutely! Growing up eating traditional Chinese dishes, my mother did not use a lot of salt or soy. After leaving home, I discovered that prepared meals from the grocery stores, frozen "meals", and "fast food" is extraordinarily salty. Now that I have my own family I find that cooking real food tastes much better with lots of herbs and aromatics with just a touch to bring out the real flavours.


Posted on Thursday December 8, 2011 a 5:11pm

i try and make healthy choices by using spices as well as herds!!!


Posted on Saturday December 10, 2011 a 12:26pm

It's true that in the 'old' days, things were much more saltier in everything. I can really taste the saltiness in food now, esp in restaurants. I ask to hold back the salt and use the pepper shaker.


Posted on Sunday December 11, 2011 a 7:27am

Being European and loving to cook for family and friends...salt is always been first on the list, however in time I reduced alot of salt consumption by making the meals more calories or salt derive from herbs but do they pack flavor and still add salt just not so much , because you need salt to wake up the herbs too...all in all,,,everything I make wakes the pallet with not feeling guilty of the tamed version of less salt. buon apetito daboss


Posted on Sunday December 18, 2011 a 3:02am

I always watch for the label especially if it is too high in sodium. When I cooked my soup i likely used no salt at all or just a pinch of it. We eat ( together with our children) our fresh veggie like fresh spinach, snap peas, broccol...i( some of my favourites) and no seasoning, though my hubby is still like a little bit more tastier..he is adapting to my taste bud. Since I cooked our food, he gets to eat bland, he is learning indeed. We plant our own herbs and vegetables during Spring and Summer.


Posted on Thursday December 22, 2011 a 3:05pm

I rarely add salt to recipes. And where they call for it, I tend to cut it at least in half.


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