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The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.


It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.


Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.


Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.


Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.


Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Observed

So I had lunch at Wendy's the other day. ($2.40 for lunch--a baked potato and a bowl of chili. Hard to beat. Though the chili wasn't as good as I remember it.) The guy in front of me got the new Spicy Baconator. I thought about trying it --professionally, just to keep up--but I couldn't.

The guy takes it to his table, where he takes off the top bun, takes the salt shaker that Wendy so thoughtfully provides, and shakes salt on his Baconator for a good five seconds. How much salt is that? On bacon?

Makes me wonder. And it's not just at Wendy's--I find many of my restaurant meals are almost too salty to eat--but someone across the room will be salting the heck out of it. I find this discouraging.


34 Comments:

at 2:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love to put a lot of salt on my Blooming Onion!!

 
at 2:13 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

"BACONATOR!" "STACK ATTACK!"

I love marketing. I wonder what the demo for their "special" sandwiches is... If I had to guess? Men, 18-34.

I'd love to listen in on their brand management meetings. "NO! It needs to sound... more... oh, I don't know. threatening! Put an 'ator' on the end. Add an 'attack.'"

 
at 3:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Polly - I completely agree with you about the salt. People need to taste their food and then salt!

The only thing I add salt to EVER is, ironically, Wendy's fries. The grease seems to absorb all of the salt!

 
at 3:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I see so many people put salt on everything. Admittdely, I did the same thing but now rarely add salt after having prepared a meal.

 
at 3:36 PM Blogger Stepf said...

I find it insulting when you've prepared a really great meal and someone starts dousing it in salt. I also get really irked when people start going crazy with the sugar shaker. I have a diner-style sugar container, and a girlfriend of a friend of mine drained half of it into a cup of coffee! And she wonders why she's overweight! Yikes! (She's the same one who salts everything.) She also did that when fruit accompanied a dessert. I'm anti-sugar and salt.

 
at 4:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How DARE Steph's guests use the condiments that she sets on her table! And how dare they not have the same palate as she does!

Perhaps you under-season your dishes, and your guests know it.

 
at 4:53 PM Blogger vudutu said...

We are being trained Polly, there is tons of sodium and sugar in processed foods. Have you ever noticed how sweet the sauces are at McCormick and Schmicks (not sure how that is spelled) for instance? Even trader Joes stuff is high in sodium. Sodium is the one thing I have to watch even in the less processed food I buy.

 
at 7:04 PM Anonymous nanananananonymous said...

The sauces at McCormick & Schmick's are sweet because most backwards Americans LIKE sweet flavors. The freezer goods that Trader Joe's hawks (do they sell anything that's fresh?)are not high quality. Period. You might as well eat Mrs. Paul's.

 
at 7:14 PM Blogger Beersnob said...

The only time I add salt to something is when it's in a glorious liquid with red peppers and vinegar. Mmmmmmm Tabasco.

 
at 8:00 PM Anonymous in the know said...

All of Steph's dishes are underseasoned. Trust me.they aalways scream for salt.

 
at 8:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Polly, thanks for this post. You have proven that even a true "foodie" such as yourself can appreciate an occasional trip to a fast food restaurant. Does stopping for chili at Wendy's negate your vast knowledge of local restaurants? Of course not. And as a legitimate foodie, you made a keen observation as a result of your lunch at the dreaded fast food place.

 
at 10:35 PM Blogger Rachel said...

I have a diner-style sugar container, and a girlfriend of a friend of mine drained half of it into a cup of coffee! And she wonders why she's overweight! Yikes!

So, you're unaware then of a recent study done by Susan Swithers and Terry Davidson at Purdue University that found that rats given yogurt sweetened with saccharin ate more, gained more weight, and developed more body fat than rats who ate yogurt with sugar.

Another recent trial by researchers with MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory in Cambridge, UK found that there were no statistical differences in body weight, waist circumference or fatness between a low GI and high GI diet. In fact, most epidemiological studies don’t support that glycemic load adversely affects weight, with most showing no relationship when adjusting for total calorie intakes and other variables.

I don't think we can assume why someone is overweight and I don't think we ought to assume that everyone should be thin.

 
at 10:42 PM Blogger Rachel said...

Oh, and sometimes when someone craves salt, it may be due to an adrenal, zinc, manganese or potassium deficiency. Stress, too, triggers salt cravings for some people. And some people are just fast oxidizers of salt.

 
at 11:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have boycotted Wendy's for various reasons unrelated to their food...and I hope the entire corporation one day rots in hell for those transgressions...but I've seen the same deal at White Castle, the anchor grill, Arbys and Taco Bell.

I saw someone use up a half shaker of salt at White Castle on their chicken rings and onion chips.

 
at 6:59 AM Blogger Cin Twin1 said...

As a long distance runner, would you believe we consume salt tablets? Because I sweat a lot, I have to replace water and the electrolytes lost. Sometimes, a little extra seasoning doesn't hurt. I know it is not the norm though.

 
at 8:49 AM Blogger Stepf said...

I'm not saying that choosing artificial sweeteners would prevent weight gain. Choosing no sweeteners might help. A cup of sugar has more than 700 calories, empty calories. Piling on sugar and salt is indicative of other poor eating habits in her case. I never cook with artificial sweeteners or use them in drinks, and I cut out the occasional diet soda more than a year ago. Too much sugar/salt is definitely an American habit.
Thanks, in the know. If you really think that about my food, please tell me next time. :)

 
at 10:52 AM Anonymous rms said...

My step-mother used to salt her cantaloupe and her watermelon... Heavily. Mama mia....

 
at 11:59 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remind me to decline Stepf's next dinner invite. Not only does she snark on your seasoning traits but your weight gets slammed. With friends like that.....

 
at 12:15 PM Blogger Rachel said...

Stepf: Do you mean to say your friend put a whole cup of sugar into her drink? And I find it curious that you say you are anti-sugar, yet you have a whole canister of it?

And I think "poor eating habits" is really a relative term, subject to interpretation by individual. Not everyone subscribes to or can afford to follow your particular diet. And I don't think there exists "good" and "bad" foods either - all food has its place in a healthy diet and relationship with food.

 
at 1:16 PM Blogger Stepf said...

Ouch, thanks. We all air our peeves. That happens to be one of mine. When I cook for friends, with the exception of this Easter, they know to expect vegetarian or vegan food that's as healthful as possible. They're free to salt, but seriously, give it a taste first! :)
And yes, I have an entire canister. I'm anti sugar, and cut it out when possible. I don't use it except when I bake, but Fred indulges in sugar in his coffee. For that matter, I also have pork chops in my freezer and a box of Captain Crunch -- because I don't live alone. And yes, it was something like an entire cup -- half the canister. I usually don't judge, but this was so much sugar and salt that two of my other friends commented about it later.

 
at 2:19 PM Blogger Rachel said...

Well, there's nothing like a coffee-sugar slushie!

And your sugar/salt peeve doesn't bother me; I was just kind of irked by the overweight comment. My graduate research is on the social history of food-related disorders and I am an eating disorders awareness and education activist, so I am particularly keen to these kinds of comments.

 
at 4:04 PM Blogger JGU said...

The main thing to me about excessive salt and sugar in food is that we are losing our ability to taste food.

If you salt tomatoes, eggs, melon, all varieties of cooked vegetables, steak... to the point where the main taste is salt, then all these wonderful foods tend to taste the same. I think that is unfortunate, and a result of people being brought up that way, and not cooking enough for themselves and paying attention to seasoning levels when they do.

All of us should have the experience of making, say, a delicious soup, from fresh ingredients, and tasting first with NO SALT. Then add salt, a little at a time, so you can experience the wonderful transformation of flavors that results from the right seasoning level, but without drowning the unique original flavors of the ingredients.

The next time you go to a restaurant, even a fine restaurant, ask yourself what is the main flavor in the main course? Often, it is salt as much as anything else. That is just sad and I think it's what Polly was originally commenting on.

If you get up in the middle of the night after a nice meal, and you have to run to the bathroom for a glass of water, then your meal was definitely over-salted. It happens to me regularly.

 
at 4:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salt: no other condiment enables food to taste more like itself. That said, the American palate is desensitized to salt because of the overconsumption of processed foods, hence the salting incident at Wendy's.

Stepf: your original comment came off as snarky & self-righteous, which seems to be the norm these days with you. I'm glad Rachel called you out on it.

 
at 5:36 PM Anonymous O-nonymous said...

I just love being lectured to be holier-than-thou "foodies", vegans and condiment-phobes.

If you want to put salt and pepper on your tomatoes, go ahead. Enjoy. Have a Big Mac if you want one. Don't let any of these schmucks tell you what you should eat.

 
at 10:34 PM Blogger JGU said...

Dear O-nonymous,
In case you hadn't noticed, this is called "The Foodie Report." If you can't handle serious and contradictory debate about food, then do us all a favor and get off the blog.

 
at 12:04 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

JGU-

SHOVE IT.

Your self righteous posting about the 'proper' way to salt, eat tomatoes and enjoy dinner is despicable. Who in the h*ll do you think you are to tell the rest of us how to enjoy our food, and in such a condescending manner at that.

You are a true Food Nazi. Congratulations, Adolf.

 
at 8:17 AM Blogger JGU said...

Dear Anon 12:04,

I assume that you were drunk when you wrote that, or are you always that rude and absurd?

People like you crack me up. You think I am a food "Nazi" but if you read my post all I am doing is stating my opinions in a polite way, and trying to be as transparent as possible. That's what this blog is for. I don't expect or need you to agree with me; that's the difference between us.

You should try to listen to others opinions without taking them so personally. You'll have a happier life.

Enjoy your salt; that's fine with me. But take your culture wars and your sensitive nature elsewhere.

 
at 9:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

JGU, pay not attention to the faceless Anon, whichever Anon that may be, it only encourages muffled shouting from the back of the room by faceless entities.

 
at 10:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

JGU=pwned

Ditto for the vegan.

 
at 11:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you two need a big dose of BRAN!

 
at 2:43 PM Anonymous food fascists suck said...

The Food Fascists seem really upset today.

 
at 5:00 PM Anonymous rms said...

My God, if there is ONE blog where civility might prevail, it ought to be the Food Blog. And perhaps the Classical Music Blog. LOL...

Seriously, this anonymous blogging has really contributed to the coarsening of discourse...

I'm not sure what the answer is.

 
at 10:26 PM Blogger vudutu said...

Great post and thread Polly, this is good discourse. Good recipe, take one errant foodie observation, add a question and stir in the spice, (opinion). This really adds up to one interesting presentation,

Rachel Brought up some good points.
"Sometimes when someone craves salt, it may be due to an adrenal, zinc, manganese or potassium deficiency. Stress, too, triggers salt cravings for some people. And some people are just fast oxidizers of salt.

Cin Twin1 Brought up something I did not think of of but knew.
"As a long distance runner, would you believe we consume salt tablets? Because I sweat a lot, I have to replace water and the electrolytes lost."

rms reminded me of late summer, I love just a little salt on my melon.
"My step-mother used to salt her cantaloupe and her watermelon... Heavily. Mama mia...."

 JGU is right, you can always add it but you can't take it out, taste as you go.
"The main thing to me about excessive salt and sugar in food is that we are losing our ability to taste food"

rms topped it off
"My God, if there is ONE blog where civility might prevail, it ought to be the Food Blog. And perhaps the Classical Music Blog. LOL...
Seriously, this anonymous blogging has really contributed to the coarsening of discourse."

Good Post Polly.

 
at 9:31 AM Blogger Polly Campbell said...

I think some people are confused. I remeber writing a review in which I described something as too rich, with too much butter. Which I think is a legitimate culinary judgement.

Someone angrily e-mailed me as if i had suggested passing a law immediately that anyone who touches butter should be thrown in jail. If I had suggested that, I would understand their anger. And there are people who do suggest things like banning trans-fats. That is something that should be up for debate. But I think people have really gotten worked up to the point where they consider an opinion opposite of theirs as being somehow coercive or insulting.

 
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