New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has recently introduced a bill that would ban the use of salt in the preparation of restaurant food. I appreciate the import of a low-sodium diet, I must agree with virtually all of the comments that this is one of the dumbest, most overreaching pieces of legislation to come down the pike. Unenforceable, too. Chef secretly throws some substance in the pot – what was THAT?
Besides, it says here: Larousse Gastronomique insists that “seasoning includes a large or small amount of salt being added to a preparation. Salt may be used to draw out water, or to magnify a natural flavor of a food making it richer or more delicate, depending on the dish. This type of procedure is akin to curing.” I can imagine that some foods would end up so unsatisfying that the customer might well use too much NaCl from the shaker.
What I DO favor, whenever possible, is for restaurants to indicate the nutritional breakdown. We have gone to both Friendly’s, the Massachusetts restaurant chain, and McDonald’s this month, and it was startling. The menu at Friendly’s now indicates the calorie count on all its foods, much to the dismay of our waitress, who has noticed people deciding that the 1400-calorie banana split may just not be worth it. On the McDonald’s food wrapper, not only are calories listed, but like any food you’d find on the grocery shelf or in a vending machine, it ALSO has information on protein, fat and sodium. And there seems to be a LOT of sodium.
Cutting back on salt wouldn’t be such a bad thing. One can, for some items, season without salt. There are only two items that I actually add salt to: popcorn and chicken giblets. I should make sure I don’t consume them at the same meal.