A little while ago, my old friend Ed Schneider sent me an email that said, among other things, "In Western cooking, pepper is used almost automatically (as in 'salt and pepper'), when many savory dishes are better without it." (Given our relationship and that we're both cooking-obsessed, this is pretty normal subject matter for an email.)
Anyway, I thought about it, and he really has a point. As cooks, we often use salt and pepper as if it's a package deal, but where salt is basically a flavor-enhancer, pepper is a spice with a pretty strong flavor on its own. This pepper reflex that most home cooks have (I'm definitely guilty much of the time) is an interesting phenomenon, so I asked Ed to write about it. Check out his piece below. It made me stop and think; I hope it does the same for you. (Plus, it comes with a really nice tomato sauce recipe...no pepper included.)
Next time you reflexively reach for the pepper along with the salt, take a second to think if you really, REALLY want/need it in whatever you're cooking. Chances are you might not.
Talk To Me, Goose!
Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.