So do you like salt, or do you like eating?

French Fries

I know it shouldn’t surprise me, but now and again it does. What is that you may ask? Well the blog post title is a bit of a giveaway, the answer is salt, or more specifically the amount of salt in both processed foods and in restaurant meals too.

I recently bought a chocolate cake from Sainsbury’s, what astounded me was that the salt content per 100g was higher than Ready Salted Pringles! I know people complain about the amount of sugar in savoury foods (I am looking at you Duchy) but this was a sweet thing. There I was thinking that supermarkets were trying to reduce the amount of salt they use in their products.

I am finding a fair few restaurants are not just adding salt to cooking, I kind of expect that level of seasoning, but then “garnish” the dish with even more salt. I recently had some sweet and sour squid, over the salt and pepper squid and was disappointed to find that the squid had been garnished with sea salt. Similarly the number of places that “garnish” their fries with salt, yes, I’m looking at you Café Rouge!

I am now pretty sensitive to the amount of salt I find in foods and I do find now that when used excessively detracts rather than enhances the flavour of the food I eat. So do you like salt, or do you like eating?

Red Jam Doughnuts

There is something about the traditional jam doughnuts, the ones with red jam in the middle and dusted with real granulated sugar. With the increased availability of American style donuts, such as Krispy Kreme, in many different places and quite a fair few pale imitations, it’s nice to know that the traditional jam doughnut is still available. I don’t always want my doughnuts to use icing sugar instead of normal sugar, I don’t always want icing or toppings. That’s not to say donuts (as opposed to doughnuts) have their place, but we shouldn’t forget the delight of the simple jam doughnut. There are also differences between the yeast raised versions, cake versions and batter versions. In my mind I much prefer the doughnuts made with a yeast based dough.

I remember as a young boy being entranced by a bakers shop in town that had windows into the bakery part of the shop, so you could see where and how they made the doughnuts. You could see where the doughnuts were cooked, the trays of sugar where the virgin doughnuts were coated and finally the jam injection contraption that filled them with sweet sugary red jam. They also had other flavours, apricot and blackcurrant, but for me it was always the ones with the red jam. I rarely bought jam doughnuts with my pocket money, but when I could I really enjoyed eating them.

I wonder about that red jam, in theory it should be raspberry jam, but anyone who has read the ingredients list of Jammie Dodgers will realise that mass catering these days seem to use a raspberry flavoured plum jam rather than a real raspberry jam, so hence the red jam moniker.

So are you a secret doughnut eater? Do you prefer the Americanized (sic) donuts? What about varieties from Germany or Holland?

Anyone for a doughnut?

Despite my reservations about Krispy Kreme Doughnuts I recently bought a box of them for my team at work (as a reward).

Slightly concerned about the Christmas specials, as it is really nowhere near Christmas. I really should have picked my own selection for the box, but as I was in a bit of a hurry I got a full box with a selection already in, which included the tree and snowman.

Personally the one I had was a little too sweet and sugary for me, but the rest seemed to go down well.

I want a sandwich…

If I have a big meal in the middle of the day then in the evening I usually happy to have a sandwich.

But if I am going to have a sandwich and I have the ingredients and the time then I don’t want a ham sandwich made from ‘plastic’ white bread!

Without sounding too much like a Marks and Spencers advert, I want a sandwich made from freshly baked ciabatta bread, a thin spread of unsalted butter, filled with fresh rocket leaves, thin slices of milano salami and a dash of mayonnaise…

Sandwich

Now that’s a sandwich.

Whatever happened to…

On my way back from Birmingham recently I stopped off at the services to grab a coffee and stretch the legs.

As I walked around the services with WHSmith, Costa, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, Burger King, KFC… it occurred to me how much motorway service stations have changed. You can also find Waitrose and Marks & Spencers at some too.

Motorway services have become mini malls and tiny high streets with familiar names. Obviously to entice drivers in and with a familiar name probably have the confidence to buy something… It would appear that the more you have heard of something, the more likely you are to buy from it.

It wasn’t that long ago that motorway services were brands in their own right, Granada (that became Moto), Welcome Break and so on… within their confined walls were unknown brands of coffee and fast foods as well as the main “canteen” style cafeteria.

Big brands started to make inroads into the services and these must have worked as now the services are awash with familiar names from the high street.

Of course the same is happening with our local shops, Tesco Metro, Sainsbury Local are now our corner shops and in many cases are on our local high streets (as well as their big edge of town stores).

When our local shopping centre expanded and a rank of smaller shops were made available next to the Morrisons, Boots and Matalan; I know i hoped for an independent baker, butcher and candlestick maker. What we got was Costa, Subway, Dominos and a Sue Ryder charity shop!

The sad thing is that, we in survey after survey, indicate how much we like our local shops and despair when they get “eaten up” by large chains. The reality is that as a society we say one thing and then go and do something else. We like the idea of local and independent store, but prefer to shop at the familiar.