Salt and Pepper

No, not the pop-rap trio Salt N Pepa but the basic seasoning of any self-respecting savoury recipe. This is just a quick note to say that I think some Auckland eateries, particularly the new wave of Mexican ones, need to step it up. What’s the use in having slow-cooked pulled pork, or tomato salsa, if there ain’t no salt to set the flavours off?

This taco from an overseas truck was absolutely delicious. Recently I got one from a local truck and although it sounded yummy – pork with pineapple salsa – it was disappointingly bland. Meanwhile, a taco salad from one of the chains was only a shade short of horrendous. There was a gluggy pile of beans that needed more than salt to save them, but some basic seasoning – yet alone some sophisticated spices – would have been a good place to start.

I remember a Nici Wickes review of a hip Mexican place said exactly the same thing: The food looked lovely but the head chef would never have approved his underlings’ work if he’d bothered to taste it. Seasoning is so simple and with the glut of judges on amateur TV shows going on and on about it these days, you’d have thought our pros would have taken heed.

But lest you think I’m some kind of salt freak and you’d rather look after your heart, or cholesterol levels, or whatever it is that salt is bad for, how about these trucks and cafes at least provide some quality salt for us to add?

Can’t resist throwing in another pic to finish this rant – it’s of some gazpacho I ate several mornings in a row on the same overseas trip last year. It cost about 3 bucks and the simple flavours were all perfectly balanced and seasoned. Note the Corona bottle full of salt!


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