Eat. Home. Live.

In depth ramblings about cooking, homekeeping, and whatever else I decide to write about.

Cooking 101- Salt and Pepper Tutorial

One of my closest friends told me that her biggest cooking revelation was that she wasn’t using enough salt when she cooked, which is the reason her food was bland. I have to confess that was my biggest beginner mistake as well. Except for one thing,  I didn’t use enough salt for about the first 20 years of my cooking, so that mistake went far past my beginner phase. I would shake it out of the shaker over my pot, and you simply can’t get enough salt to season a whole pot of food out of a shaker. I did a test and it took me exactly 50 seconds to shake a teaspoon of salt out of my shaker, which shakes salt out very generously. A tsp. of salt is the minimum starting point for soups, stews, and casseroles that serve 6-8 people. I often find  they need more than that.

When I wasn’t using enough salt, people thought my cooking was fine, but I can pinpoint that using enough salt was when people stopped describing me as a good cook and started calling me a fabulous cook. Salt is that important to cooking.

So, here is what you need to do. Keep your salt in a bowl with a 1/2 tsp. measure in it or near by, and stop trying to season a whole dish with a shaker. A shaker is great for seasoning individual pieces of meat before cooking, or to finish off your own plate of food, but otherwise, it isn’t meant to be used when cooking. My own personal salt dish is pictured below. I use the mini-bowl as a lid and the ceramic spoon (which is 1/2 tsp.) sits in the lid. It is right next to my stove on a platter with olive oil and other things I like to keep at hand while cooking.

The general rule I follow is to start with 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper for soups, stews, large pans of roasted veggies, and casseroles that serve 6-8. You need to taste you cooked food and add more after that if needed. If you are wary of using that much salt, then try starting at 1/2 tsp. and work your way up (It would still take 25 seconds of shaking with a shaker to get that much.)Here is what that amount of salt and pepper looks like:

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This entry was posted on January 20, 2012 by in Cooking 101, Eat.