Re: [CH] Jalapeno seasoning

ChefChile (
Tue, 14 Apr 1998 14:30:21 EDT

In a message dated 98-04-14 08:11:40 EDT, writes:

 Hi  C-H's,
 	Would John and Frank care to discuss the following statements,
 excerpted from John's recent post? :
 "We all know the perils of
 too much salt in the diet."
 Tell me what they are, and be very careful what you say!

 " The use of a "seasoning salt" ................................., not to
 mention any possible health related problems there may be."
 What health problems are there for any normal healthy person?
 "Add the salt to the food separately."
 This from a chef? Why? Do you practise your craft in a cardiac unit? Many
 dishes and cooking and preserving methods depend upon salt.
 "I'll step down from my soap box and those who wish
 may flame away.  I'm ready to burn baby!"
 I'm not going to flame you, but I might make sauerkraut out of you!
Well since I am only a Chef and not a member of the medical field I can only
relate to you the information as it appears to me.  First of all Salt is the
most common source of sodium.  Approximately 40% of salt is pure sodium.  Many
foods contain sodium even though they do not taste salty.  Most processed
foods contain sodium, including your sauerkraut.

The human body only needs about 500 mg of sodium per day.  A recommended
intake of less than 2400mg of sodium is recommended.  If my memory serves me
correct that would be about 6 grams of salt, which isn't very much.  To the
best of my knowledge we consume much more than that because many people use
salt in cooking and add salt at the table, not to mention the people who use
prepared foods which are notoriously high in sodium.  Just read a label.

For some individuals a high intake of sodium has been associated with high
blood pressure.  Based on my limited knowledge of the human anatomy (yes I do
have some knowledge of the human anatomy, but we'll keep this rated "G") high
blood pressure is a factor in heart attacks, strokes, and other circulatory
problems. Since many people suffer from heart disease and it is among the
leading killers in the US I for one am concerned.

Many people do not have a problem with sodium intake.  I know I do not have
high blood pressure at the moment, but I know that I could develop the
problem.  Do I live in fear of developing high blood pressure?  No!  

Normal Healthy individuals may not have a problem with sodium intake.  That's

I add salt to the food I cook at home and in the restaurants that I work.  I
add enough salt to bring out the desired flavor in the food, but not overpower
it.  Some people I know like the taste of salt so they will add the salt at
the table, sometimes without even tasting the food beforehand.  As a rule I
consider salt on the table as a necessity for those people who need to adjust
the seasoning of the food to suit their individual taste.  For me I like my
potatoes to be salty, something I contribute to growing up where the nickname
of the city I lived in was the "Salt City" (Syracuse, NY) and where new
potatoes where cooked in a salt brine and then immediately dunked in melted
butter then popped in the mouth.  These of course are known as salt potatoes.
They are mmmmmmmgooood.  By the way, I rinse sauerkraut before preparing it
for service

So to answer your question about cooking in a cardiac unit I must say no.  My
concerns about the use of seasoning salts in cooking are that they add salt to
the dish that my not be needed, thus ruining the intended flavor, and that
this additional salt is probably not needed by the body.  

Salt has been used a a food preservative and flavoring throughout history, and
will continue to do so for some time I imagine.  I know I will continue its
usage for the immediate future.  I have not said that everyone must stop using
salt.  My concern was the use if seasoning salt.  If you are adding onion salt
to a dish, why not just add fresh onion, granulated onion, or onion powder,
then if the dish needs it add the salt.  If you are adding jalapeno salt to a
dish, why not add fresh jalapeno, dried jalapeno flakes, or jalapeno powder,
then add salt to the dish if it needs it.

As a Chef I do have a responsibility to the consumer.  It is my responsibility
to provide them with food that is not only tasty, but has been purchased from
reputable sources, has been delivered in good condition, stored in the proper
environment, handled only as many times as was necessary and finally prepared
properly.  At home I have the same responsibility to my family and friends.  I
do concern myself with the health of the consumer whether at home or at the
restaurant. I want them to return again and again for many years, so they can
keep contributing to my retirement fund.  When possible I look for another
flavor to put in the dish so as to limit the amount of salt or oil, or sugar,
or fat...etc, etc.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't work so well.

Yours Truly in Supreme Heat   aka "John"
TCS Mystic Fire Priest
Monk of the SOB
Executive Chef Ring O' Fire   C=:-)    
Humble Servant to El Grande