Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More on Unrefined Sea Salt

Yesterday I wrote about New York City’s initiative to limit the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant food. As I mentioned, the stark difference between heavily-processed salt (unhealthy) and unrefined sea salt (essential) has been lost in the discussion.

Unfortunately all salts usually get grouped together, which leads to unfortunate results, including one I witnessed over the weekend in my neighborhood.

In the window of a tiny European-style bakery that sells homemade breads, pastries and cakes was a sign that read:
“Did you know our scones and most of our muffins have no salt. No salt in the vanilla cake or butter cream.”
I was taken aback. This was a high-quality operation baking from scratch; why the avoidance of a key ingredient? In fact, salt brings out the flavor in food, including sweets. (My wife recently forgot to add salt to a chocolate pudding and the lack of oomph was obvious from the first spoonful.)

And had I actually been in the mood for a scone or muffin, I would not have bought one at this bakery, despite its reputation. Sorry, but I want a little salt (and a lot of flavor) in my food.

I think this misguided sign played into our blanket fears about salt, instead of helping us realize how healthy unrefined sea salts are. We would have been better served if the note had read:
“Did you know our scones and most of our muffins contain a pinch of unrefined sea salt, which is essential for numerous body functions and contains over 80 trace elements, which are minerals and micronutrients that our bodies need in extremely small quantities?”


Anonymous said...

This fear of otherwise healthy food seems to be yet another fad. I'm thinking of various diets that have banished entire food groups such as grains or meat. Eventually the health problems generated by these fads seems to right the situation. Odd that common sense doesn't seem to play a part.

Chef Rob said...


Very well said. It would be great if everyone saw it so clearly.