In my younger years I used to harass my parents about their, what I perceived to be, excessive use of salt. They salted everything- steak, tomatoes, potatoes and green-beans. Hell, for all I know they salted the salt.
I had learned that salt could lead to hypertension not to mention their food always tasted like a bouillon cube (yes, I have tasted one, and that comparison is probably unfair to the cube). Their food was just gross. Salt ruins food.
Fast forward (quite a bit) to being eight months pregnant. I was the size of a Buick and I was craving beef -specifically steak – (which I had sworn off seven years earlier – a blog for another time) and the only way that it could be consumed was off the grill with salt (eeek). I blamed both cravings on the offspring.
For nearly 12 years that was the only food I added salt to (less all the baking that calls for salt). Until June 10th. June 10, 2013 I started a clean eating plan. No oils, no carbs, no grains, no dairy and limited fruits and veggies. The first phase of my clean eating was just long enough to rid my body of toxins and all the fantastic (said complete with sarcastic tone AND eye roll) preservatives that are just not necessary for your body. Long story short without all the sauces, marinades and seasonings I was left with just the food. Naked food.
Before naked food I actually thought I liked broccoli. For years I ate it raw – alone and in salads and I told people I liked it. Guess what- I like ranch dressing. Broccoli tastes good smothered in ranch. I now know that I do not like broccoli. I actually prefer dirt.
Broccoli was not the only thing I was trying again for the first time. If I was going to survive this I knew I had to experiment. I looked up what seasonings were okay to have and it turns out most spices are good to go- even salt.
Salt. The very thought of salt brought to mind stark images of a person dehydrating before my eyes – a shriveled pile of skin. There is no rational reason for this imagery, it just was. I thought I would give salt a shot, despite the imagery. A taste could not hurt. I bought sea salt and a grinder. My first experiment was salt on asparagus. Without anyone looking I tried the salted spear. It was magic. A home-run. It was not over powering; it actually complemented the asparagus. Without all the oils, marinades and fillers I was able to enjoy the fresh vegetable and the granulates of salt. A match made in heaven.
Had I opened Pandora’s Box; had I been missing out for years? Well, let’s see. I have since added salt to salads, which is spectacular if paired with a sweet vinaigrette, butternut squash (a nice alternative to cinnamon), and tomato soup. Just a dash and guess what? I have not become an addict but I have enjoyed some otherwise so-so foods. I cannot explain why it works or how it makes foods even more enjoyable. It just does.
I am not selling you on salt. Instead it made me think that maybe we all need to try something again. You may never enjoy brussel sprouts, but maybe you have a negative association with a certain food and it is time to give it another try. Maybe your great aunt dragged you to the theater when you were nine and a you swore it off; as an adult you may have an appreciation for the arts. Perhaps you went on a family camping trip and before the first nightfall you promised you would never subject your future children to trekking through the woods and bathing in a lake.
As we get older we mature, we discover who we are, what we like and what we value. As we get older we have the opportunity to experience new things and new places. Maybe there is room in there to try something, again.