United We Salt

There are many things that give me great pleasure in life but the two that I am passionate about is cooking and eating.  In the kitchen, I am the master and the food I cook is only limited by my creativity and pantry of ingredients. On the days where I can’t muster enough energy to even toss a salad, I like to give my body a rest and eat out.

When I go out to some of my favorite steak houses, I’m excited to devour a Prime New York steak and a Baked Potato. But when I’m craving Deli, corned beef and pastrami are my weakness. So when I read that New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg was enacting a “National Salt reduction Initiative” aiming to reduce 20 percent of sodium in packaged and restaurant foods over the next five years, I felt pretty agitated.

Yes, a salt initiative – health care reform you can taste! Sure Bloomberg’s reason seems justifiable because we all know a diet high in sodium may lead to heart conditions like high blood pressure, which in turn can become fatal. No one is denying this. But where is the line drawn between what a business owner chooses to serve and personal, freedom of choice? Further, think about this in the practical standpoint—how much salt can you cut out of deli meat before it just tastes like tofu? Creating good food is an art (not an exact science) enjoyed by millions of home cooks and chefs in restaurants alike.

Luckily, this anti-salt crusade is only “voluntary” for the time being.  But this keeps me wondering: how will restaurant owners and other food producers react with such expectations from Big Brother? Is this the beginning of a new health-movement? I am in favor of good nutrition but where do we draw the line?  Regardless, the pressure is definitely on.

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