Kitchen controversy - a very political post - sweet, salty or not?

Thoughts from a stroke addled brain.

These matters concern belief, politics and history.
Of course, all are subjects generally understood to cause strife and division.
In the cause of wisdom and truth I will state my experience and my belief.

The matter I want to address is the modern attitude to two substances in particular.
My belief is that these are matters that require proper thought and much consideration.

The two substances I am examining are sugar and salt.
In these times they are considered an evil to be avoided at all costs.
I think this is a very wrong direction to be taking.
Of course this is simply my opinion, one among many.

As a part of history these two products have been around for tens of thousands of years, maybe even hundreds of thousands.
Until only a handful of years ago they were looked on as extremely valuable commodities.
They were closely tied to the survival of humanity, hence their worth, their vital necessity, even.

Food of all sorts was often treated with one or other of these commodities.
This preserved the material which became something that could be a source of nourishment when shortages occurred.
These lack of resources occurred regularly and could wipe out a community very quickly if no nutrition could be found.
Humanity became accustomed to exposure to salt and sugar and the benefit gained was survival when there could have been starvation.

Salt and sugar have been a part of ordinary life for vast periods of time and I suggest that it might be a big mistake to suddenly and quickly drop using it, somehow imagining that we nowadays will never have to deal with a collapse of supply.
Maybe future generations will equally suddenly lose the ability to tolerate them and we will have lost a means of food preservation that we have been able to rely upon since time immemorial.
I think all of this requires very careful consideration.

There have been many changes in my lifetime. We have become able to produce larger quantities of food cheaper and much quicker.
However this has been at the expense of taste, flavour, texture and nutrition.
More has left us with less.

We produce increasing amounts of waste, far too much to be ‘recyled’ in the traditional manner.
To me it looks like we will be suffocated as the mountains of our own poo grow ever bigger.
Never mind global warming, what about the waste warning?

Man is not the wise beast he likes to imagine he is and does not seem to understand inevitability.

So I will continue to use salt and sugar depite the fashionable warnings.

You, my friend, must make your own choices or, if you like, easier and simpler, follow the herd with its promise of immunity.

Keep on keepin’ on
:writing_hand: :slightly_smiling_face: :teapot:

makes you fink tho doesn’t it?
all this so I can still have a spoonful of sugar in me coffee
and some salt & vinegar on my fish ‘n’ chips


That last post kept me up nearly all night.
It churned round and round in my brain.
Sleep what sleep.
So I got up at around 5am and wrote it up.

Hope getting back to bed, I’ll get an hour or two’s sleep now.

Keep on, as ever, keepin’ on
:sleeping_bed: :+1: :zzz:


Aren’t you just the rabble rouser!

I was heading to sleep when you started this row. Now I am just hungry. I am more lemon and pepper than salt, but I do like sugar in my coffee.

Now, what shall I find to eat?


Sleep well Bob @Bobbi. All things in moderation eh? I am lucky that I have no underlying health issues other than my traumatic stroke, I am the only person interested in monitoring my blood pressure!
I cannot manage without salt, and have been indulging my sweet tooth in an attempt to gain weight despite a previous dental vocation, so you are talking to the converted here.
I am very aware that there are members of the forum that have been advised to make dietary changes for health reasons, and these matter, they are better people than me :woozy_face:


A very valid point and I get it.
There is no way I want to stand between anyone and what it is they think is right.
Each to their own. :+1:

Keep on keepin’ on
:writing_hand: :slightly_smiling_face: :teapot:


Ah well,… Hard to resist a good debate :frowning:

Were these thoughts nascent during the volunteers call yesterday morning? or did that awaken them because you certainly mentioned them then.

I’m swayed only slightly by most of your arguments - I see that you have points of validity in all of them. My observation is they ignore a great many contextualizing factors.
While salt and sugar have been available for thousands of years and are a way of preserving food -as is alcohol- access to it has not been even a shadow of the usage and exposure most people’s access to them is now. A change in probably just the last 50 or less years compared with the previous several thousand.

The dietary changes have made widespread access to sugar (now refined like never before) almost always combined with saturate fats, the increase in meat including red meat and hugely salt laden processed meats plus the reduction in bulking vegetables and cereals plus the reduction in physical activity introduced by modern transport for people & goods, lifts & washing machines, indeed power tools of any sort etc and the increase in sedentary occupations from the free time such as surfing the internet watching TV have a cumulative and combinatory impact.

Those medical professionals who postulate the solution to all evils is the management salt and sugar intake are being horribly unrealistic and simplistic - so I support your implied assertion that not as much attention as appears to be suggested is helpful.

The challenge is not a kitchen controversy but a lifestyle one.

it perhaps should be framed in the sense of “be aware of your exposure to the combination of being sedentary in combination with the level of saturated fat in combination with the level of sugar in combination with…” etc

$0.02 worth


In my mind, you’ve left out the essential … pepper. That lovely sprinkle of bite that makes every dish delectable. Sorry, I am a bit of a pepper nut. As for salt, a bit releases the flavour of food stuff, I like using whole anchovies or sometimes shrimp paste instead of grains, but on the whole, salt draws out flavour, it absorbs the flavoursome liquid of the ingredient you are cooking. Sugar? Not so sure. Wait for pudding is what I say. Or skip pudding. I do use some sugar in certain dishes, that kind of sugar might be fructose from fruit or palm sugar but, generally, I wouldn’t add cane sugar to a dish.

Having said all that, I am no dietician. I eat what I eat. Yet, the main principle I stick with is diversity. Eat a varied diet every day, and that may well keep the stomach biomes active and healthy. Still, @Bobbi, pepper … white pepper, Japanese pepper, Indian pepper … it is a glorious spice. Even the word … pepper … to pep one up. It’s got to be good, albeit, forgotten in most domestic culinary routines.


I’ll talk ingredients all day, quite happily, an egg butty with a little onion, mayonnaise and a sprinkle of pepper. It needs the pepper which cannot be left off.
Cayenne in a pan of scrambled eggs ready to go on buttered toast, or bruschetta if you like.

But flavour additives, i’m intrigued with tamarind, savoury and something I hadn’t encountered until a couple of years ago.

How about Marmite, sneak a spoonful or so into many dishes?

I’m always open to trying something new, or something known but used in a different way.

The kitchen is a playground, a research facility, a feeding station, so many things.

I agree completely about diversity, I would say fresh and in season, too, but then I’d be leaving out all the smoked, brined, fermented delights that bring variety.

As the chorus of the old song goes, 'Food! Glorious food! ’

Yes, I will happily discuss culinary matters.

Keep on keepin’ on
:stew: :cook: :cookie:


Oh yes pepper is an important addition too many dishes.

It also opens the door to HP sauce and Branson pickle which are essential components of a narrower subset.

Don’t think these have a health warning against them though in the same way that salt sugar and alcohol do I suspect HP is heavily dosed with salt although the bottle only claims 1.2%

@Bobbi if you like tamarind for the difference / variety that it adds you might also like yuzu and sea buckthorn. The latter is something quite odd definitely be used sparingly

Lea :woman_cook: is an encyclopedia of this culinary stuff


The tamarind comes from the country of ebay, whence many goods are available, not tried yuzu or buckthorn, but suspect they would be available in that same place.

Sticking to salt and sugar, was normal consumer until at the tender age of 15 got a job as garden boy at healthHydro, not your cranky modern health farm but based on Swiss/ German principles .This was in 1964. All garden produce and dairy organic, fasting and nature cures and eating sensibly was the mantra.Never been academic or a bright spark but certain things just made sense, gave up white sugar immediately in tea coffee and as addition to cereals, had to be Demerara on my porridge still wolfed down all forms of confectionery containing evil refined white stuff.
Salt only in my crisp bag and chips none at home in cooking but sprinkled on toms and potatoes, 60 years on still same. Sugar used always Demerara until 50 years ago when I took up beekeeping, honey replaced sugar in most things. Still like chocolate as treat and the dreaded biscuits but since the stroking only chopped up fruit on my porridge. As teenager in the swinging 60/70’s loved Melanie. Remember lyrics of one of her songs. Warning the world of white substances.
“White should be beautiful ! But often it’s not!!!”
Text this as I nibble on my digestive (organic of course🤗)


There was an amusing moment in Death in Paradise, the telly show. Neville Parker, the detective enters the island’s cooking competition which I think was a tropical seafood hotpot of some sort. Neville is not a fan of seafood but he wins the competition using a secret ingredient. Afterwards, the secret ingredient is revealed as Worcester sauce. I thought it a nice nod to a time-honoured ingredient.




war – sister – shy – her

the proper way I presume.

We are binge watching Death in Paradise right the way through from Episode one Series one, as we speak.
It has provided us with a number of very restful afternoon naps and we have reached Series five with quite a way to go yet.

I suggest a light bullet proof vest as holiday wear if you intend to visit the Island.

It is quite remarkable how many television actors get cameo parts, at least one new well known face per episode. Anything from Doc Martin to the Hospital dramas are well represented. I suspect it has been a paid holiday for quite a number. It is all about face spotting.

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