Sunday, October 24, 2010

Torture at the table.

I think that I'm going to start a grass-roots movement in the state of Florida.

For starters, I love salt on my food. Copious quantities even. Salt poured liberally onto food simply multiplies the wonderful flavor of whatever one eats. To be sure, it's not the same to cook the food with lots of salt because cooking alters the way salt interacts with the food being served. You have to be able to add salt to taste after the food is prepared.

When I first came to Florida, I noticed two things-
  • The over-abundance (verily a plague) of whole grain breads.
  • Every freakin' restaurant in the state uses the "grind it as you need it" shakers for salt and pepper.
Wheat bread in itself is fairly innocuous, when used as a building material or as insulation blown into the attic. To actually consume the stuff by choice is beyond my comprehension.

Salt, on the other hand, is a necessity. What restaurant owners here don't seem to understand is that for the hard-core saltaholic there is no way to hold a two pound bacon cheeseburger in one hand and salt each bite with the other without all of the ingredients sliding from between the buns into your lap when two hands are required to operate the damned salt dispenser. (The meat has to be salted, just coating the lettuce with salt and waiting for it to mingle with the meat as you chew is not an acceptable practice.)

I'm fairly certain that the "grind your own" salt mills were introduced as a cost-control measure by the restaurant industry. The bottles ship only one third full, and they don't actually dispense salt. Instead, the illusion of accomplishment is perpetuated by the fact that you would rather eat your food while it's hot than to look like an idiot twisting and twisting and twisting the salt mill over your plate as if working a grist mill until you actually get something out of the damned thing. This keeps them from ever having to replace those dispensers.

I think that those of us who need old-world salt dispensers should be able to get a little blue "Handicapped" table tent to carry with us. It would be the size of a credit card so that it fits comfortably in your wallet, and it would fold open to be placed at the edge of your table when you sit down in a restaurant to alert the wait-staff that you require a one-handed salt shaker when you are eating. If they can't provide a normal salt shaker, they should be required to stand at your table and work the salt mill to your satisfaction so that the food can actually be consumed before it falls back to room temperature.

I may start carrying my own shaker.

In a holster.

On my hip.