Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday, 2 September 2011

A paradoxical pinch of salt

Salt has been something of a hot topic here recently but The Moose , Longrider and others have done far more justice to today's 'outrageous levels of salt in bread' story than I ever could.

There's little to add save a coda in the form of a fine piece of television comedy from the past week. 'The Great British Bake-Off' featured a clutch of eager contestants hopefully profferring freshly-baked loaves.

The expert judge solemnly took a mouthful of bread, chewed it thoughtfully and pronounced his verdict; "Not enough salt". Loaf after loaf was dismisssed with the same problem; the lack of salt, he said, affected both texture and taste and the bakers should have used more of it.

Astounding! The baffled contestants gaped at him, obviously waiting for a thunderbolt to strike him dead. You could almost see the cogs whirring as their brains tried to assimilate this violation of public health orthodoxy.

The ultimate loser appeared to have actually halved the amount of salt in her recipe - presumably with a self-satisfied glow at her own virtue; after all, no less an organisation than the NHS advocates "Say No To Salt!"

Meanwhile, for fans of Xeno's Paradox*, there's an interesting quote from the Department of Health welcoming the reductions in salt content many manufacturers have already achieved:

"We look forward to seeing further reductions as more companies meet the targets"

Since we are, as fans of Star Trek know, "ugly bags of mostly water"** and, as The Moose points out, salt water at that, how soon before these reductions reach a point where salt deprivation becomes a mass epidemic rather than an obscure ailment afflicting only the over-conscientious?

*The paradox of Achilles and the tortoise states that if Achilles races against a tortoise and gives it a head start, he will never catch up with it; in the time he takes to move to a point on the track occupied by the tortoise, the tortoise will have moved from that point to another further on, and so on.

**Episode 18 'Home Soil'; I should, perhaps, point out that I remember this phrase not because I am an obsessive Trekkie but because it is teaching the imaginative use of the English language that keeps the wolf from the door.

1 comment:

  1. My response to the the anti-salt lobby has been to start using it again. I cut down until I took a look at the 'evidence'.