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Anything But Bland!

December 5, 2011 by Kenton Delisle

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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