Stealth Salt?!?

Stealth Salt?!?

From this morning’s paper, an AP article about Thanksgiving dinner that had both of us apoplectic with …. with … with outrage at the manner in which the corporate media normalizes Corporate Food. Here’s the lede:

No need for a salt shaker on the Thanksgiving table: Unless you really cooked from scratch, there’s lots of sodium already hidden in the menu. … The traditional Thanksgiving fixings show how easy sodium can sneak into the foods you’d least expect.

Sneak into your food?!? The salt doesn’t “sneak into” your food — the Big Ag corporations and the Big Food companies put it there. Processed food is just that — processed. That means it’s had salt and sugar and all sorts of creepy chemicals added to it so that the Big Food companies can then sell it to you for too much money while trying to pull a fast one by convincing you it’s a) easier and b) “better” for you. And the idea that “really cooking from scratch” is the exception, not the norm, and an exception so rare that the AP feels they have to warn you about the salt, sneaking into your food, all by itself, while you’re not looking — well, now we’re back to outrage square one again.

I’m not the only one pointing this out, not by a long shot — here’s Michael Ruhlman’s original rant about Salt, and here’s a later one with a lot of links to scientific studies. Basically, we both agree — if you’re worried about salt, or have high blood pressure, then cook your own food from whole, unprocessed ingredients (and buy good meat, from reputable producers who don’t shoot it full of brine) and watch how you season it. Otherwise, the salt you add at the table, or while cooking wholesome real food for yourself and your family poses no danger. The piles of salt that food processors add to all that junk they’re selling in the frozen case and the middle aisles of the supermarket — well yeah, that shit will kill you. So why eat it?

This is exactly the sort of crappy article I was complaining about yesterday. Thanksgiving is not rocket science. Green beans are better without gloppy cream-of-mushroom soup on them. Stuffing is just stale bread, onions, garlic, herbs, butter and some broth or wine to moisten it. Gravy is pan juices with flour to thicken. Turkey is just a big bird. Mashed potatoes are exactly that — potatoes cooked in water until tender, then mashed. Pumpkin pie is something better left off the table, if you’re asking me — perhaps a nice French Yogurt Cake instead.

It’s not rocket science and the people in factories, or in big chain restaurants do not know how to do it better than you do.

5 thoughts on “Stealth Salt?!?

  1. It was the use of the passive voice that really had Himself going. “It’s not sneaking into your food!” he was yelling at the paper. “The corporations put it there!”

  2. People put cream of mushroom soup in their green beans?! What a thing to do to the beans!

    I started cooking when I had children and the role of “homemaker” began to seem acceptable to me; and then I *really* started cooking when my husband developed an inner-ear problem that can be entirely controlled by limiting the salt in his diet. It turns out I don’t have to do anything special — I mean, we still put salt on the table at dinnertime — as long as about 90% of what we eat I make from scratch. That condemned the food industry to me. Restaurants, too.

  3. Frozen green beans, cream of mushroom soup, baked with those canned fried onions on top –it’s an American classic! We never had that one — we had my mother’s odd 1960s tomato aspic: tomato juice, strawberry jello, mixed with shredded celery and onion in a bundt pan, then the middle filled with curry mayonnaise and surrounded with hearts of palm and artichoke hearts. My cousin Denise is very attached to it so we still have to make it every year …

  4. I can agree with you up to the green bean casserole. Green bean casserole is a gift from the kitchen gods and should be praised with hymns and supplications! ;P
    I would imagine there is a way to make it with homemade cream of mushroom though.

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