Why is salt and pepper used in almost every dish ?

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They're widely available in large quantities and have simply become a staple in home-cooked food.

Edit: It also helps that you can put them on something without any preparations. Salt has been used for sustaining food for traveling, not sure about pepper, but that contributes.

Owyn_Merrilin:

lisadagz:
Pepper isn't used in *every* dish, otherwise I (and others, I'm sure) would never be able to eat at restaurants...

What restaurants are you eating at? Ask for the nutrition information some time, it's all drowning in salt. The only pre-prepared food I've ever bought that was salt free was from whole foods, and it sucked until you put some salt in it.

Salt, for sure... I was talking about pepper, you know, 'cause I'm a massive wimp who can't bear any level of hotness.

I go to Nando's and just order sides...

lisadagz:

Owyn_Merrilin:

lisadagz:
Pepper isn't used in *every* dish, otherwise I (and others, I'm sure) would never be able to eat at restaurants...

What restaurants are you eating at? Ask for the nutrition information some time, it's all drowning in salt. The only pre-prepared food I've ever bought that was salt free was from whole foods, and it sucked until you put some salt in it.

Salt, for sure... I was talking about pepper, you know, 'cause I'm a massive wimp who can't bear any level of hotness.

I go to Nando's and just order sides...

Derp. I don't know how I misread it that bad. Still, pepper is kind of like salt in that if you don't use too much of it, you really can't tell it's there, but you'll notice its absence. It takes a /lot/ of pepper to make something legitimately hot.

RustlessPotato:
Greetings escapist !

While pretending i didn't have exams and was about to cook this question popped in my head. Is there a particular reason why Salt and Pepper are used in every dish ? I think it has to do because of the old days where pepper was a luxury product exported from the middle east. Salt has always been important, Romans were sometimes payed in salt. (The french word for income is Salaire)

That's what the word on the road is anyhow, take it for what it is. So please, tell me what you guys think, maybe there's a chemical explanation?

I shall give you 3, no 5 internets !

you need salts to live
image

lacktheknack:
Salt ekes out more flavor from which ever food it's added to. Seriously, experiment with it.

Pepper does the same, but more subtly. When your tongue contacts the pepper, the taste bud inflames a bit, making it taste things better. All "hot" spices do this, that's why spicy food is popular in many parts of the world.

and again, ninja'd
you are lucky to have this dog shout, forumborn!
or else....

Salt does have a chemical explanations: It's a natural flavour enhancer. It's why you have salt even in desserts. It's also a vital nutrient for the body.

As for pepper, well, here it's not used THAT much. Roasts and dishes that are made from mostly meat will often feature pepper, but soups, vegetables, salads, not so much.

Pepper is cheap now and a great way to add a piquant flavour to any dish that won't overwhelm people not used to eating spicy.

RustlessPotato:
Greetings escapist !

While pretending i didn't have exams and was about to cook this question popped in my head. Is there a particular reason why Salt and Pepper are used in every dish ? I think it has to do because of the old days where pepper was a luxury product exported from the middle east. Salt has always been important, Romans were sometimes payed in salt. (The french word for income is Salaire)

That's what the word on the road is anyhow, take it for what it is. So please, tell me what you guys think, maybe there's a chemical explanation?

I shall give you 3, no 5 internets !

Salt helps to bring out he flavour in food making it extremely useful. You should never ever have to add salt to something after it is prepared though. Pepper on the other hand helps to cover up the taste of bad food which is why it was used so much.

Daystar Clarion:
Salt is the most basic seasoning agent.

The right amount will bring out the best flavour in everything.

Science has proved this, but I'm too lazy to look for a link to prove it myself. It even makes sugar better.

Y'know, if i go and eat a tomato from the garden, it comes per-seasoned with salt, as does most natural food.
Salt is necessary for removing acidity from cells in the brain and body, and helps to prevent muscle cramping during strenuous work. its vital for the absorption of food in your intestines, its vital for all electrical impulses in the body, like nerve and brain functions, salt is necessary to harden bone and keep them in good shape, salt is even necessary to maintaining a healthy libido. Its only natural that we would develop a taste for it.

...Black pepper is overrated.

rhizhim:

lacktheknack:
Salt ekes out more flavor from which ever food it's added to. Seriously, experiment with it.

Pepper does the same, but more subtly. When your tongue contacts the pepper, the taste bud inflames a bit, making it taste things better. All "hot" spices do this, that's why spicy food is popular in many parts of the world.

and again, ninja'd
you are lucky to have this dog shout, forumborn!
or else....

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

A well placed corgi can answer everything.

I don't actually put salt on anything, I'm not a big fan of salt and don't feel it necessary to put it in anything.

Pepper on the other hand... I love putting some Black Pepper in stews and Cayenne Pepper in soups, it gives an otherwise bland bowl of liquid a nice kick to it.

I also like to put Vinegar on chips and such aswell...

But yeah, not 100% sure on why you always get Salt, Pepper and Vinegar on your tables in cafe's and such.

Human beings require sodium for or bodies to function properly. Until recent history sodium wasn't very common meaning out side of the ocean salt is really hard to get a hold of for prehistoric humans. Prehistoric humans having much in common with modern man didn't really like doing more then he absolutely had to to get by. Therefore making sure he got enough sodium in his diet to function properly wasn't on his radar and quite frankly beyond his comprehension anyways.

Mother Nature being a fickle bitch and one not to give up easily had humans evolve to carve the salt they needed by making it taste fucking delicious to them. Therefore prehistoric humans got off their collective asses and started searching out sodium rich foods, that is until they discovered the glories of harvesting salt from the environment. Then shit got messy. While humans need sodium to live they do not require a whole bunch to function properly and to much sodium cause problems.

While Mother Nature is a fickle bitch she is slow to react and humans still love the taste of salt even though we have evolved to the point where we can get the stuff pretty fucking easily, and because we are stubborn asses we eat the stuff in massive amounts even though we know to much is a bad thing.

Pepper on the other had is just awesome and tastes good with salt and is spice that is easily stored and simply to use, and it is cheap.

Edit: Also salt is a great preservative. It is used in a lot of pre-made food to keep the nasties out.

It's a disgusting habit that was brought out by the fact that most processed foods and prepared foods have scoops of salt dumped on them so often that most people are used to it. Pepper is not so much of an issue in moderate quantities, but salt causes cardiovascular issues. I can't begin to understand the thought process of people who automatically salt something without even tasting it first. They get so defensive about it, too.

It's because the molecules that gives food taste aren't readily available without using a stabilizer or an emulsifier. While salt is neither it does increase the conductivity of nerve cells and sensory cells which makes the feedback for taste transferred more readily.

Seriously, most of what I said above is bullshit. I don't know the chemical or physiological reason behind it, though most aromas are fat soluble which is why we use stabilizers and emulsifier. Salt brings out the taste, just like sugar. Ever tried making jam and not adding sugar? It tastes very little. When you add sugar though you lower the pH and for some reason stuff with a slightly negative pH tastes good. I think it may be connected with evolution in order to make us eat sweet things for a sudden boost of energy and salty things in order to maintain osmotic pressure.

They're both in abundance and they also just happen to be very effective seasonings.

I never use salt beyond what is used for cooking besides when I eat apples. Yum. And now for a contradictory statement: I also think we use waaaaay too much fucking salt in our society. When I eat a hamburger and I can taste the salt over the cheese, there is a problem.

As for pepper, I don't use it much either unless it's on cottage cheese. Then I load up.

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