Salty or sweet? is a question that gets asked a bit around here--even of myself in a rhetorical (not in a scary-talking-to-myself) way.
Generally, I like to tune in to what I'm "in the mood" to eat. I know, a lot of people don't march to that drum--they eat what's in the fridge, what's easy, what the majority of people in the house vote for. My style is different (more whimsical), and I'm OK with that. If it means I make more than one thing for dinner, I'm also OK with that. (Calm down, moms who have to cook for six or seven. In our house that number rarely gets over two--something for the guys, something for me.)
Often when I'm tracking "food moods," I find myself on the salty/savory side of the menu. In fact, as I've noted to myself, even here on the blog, my sweet tooth has diminished over the years, sometimes disappearing for weeks or months on end. Of course, it always seems to return, even if my stamina for really sweet things is quite low. I may indulge (waaaaaay too many jelly beans at Easter being a recent example), but it doesn't sit well with me, and I definitely stop much sooner than years back.
The combination of salty and sweet? That's just the bomb. It's a combo that's gone rather mainstream the past few years, with sea salt on everything from chocolate to caramel to cookies and fudge. I remember the first time I really tucked into the idea of salty and sweet: I put salty peanuts on Frosted Flakes, and thought I'd found nirvana. Not raised with a lot of sugar cereals around, maybe the cereal was too sweet on its own--I don't remember the details--but somehow a packet of roasted, salted peanuts ended up on top of my cereal and milk. I was in high school at the time of this revelation--away from home at boarding school, to put a finer point on it--so there weren't any voices of moderation around and I proceeded to eat this combination every weekend for two years. Bliss.
Fast forward a couple of decades (and then some), and my love for salt and sweet together still exists. A few examples include, but are not limited to:
*My current obsession with kale and brussels sprouts salad, with dried cranberries, or pears, or grapefruit, or strawberries...
*Any cheese and fruit combination.
*The Perfect Bite at Thanksgiving, which includes a little turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
*Salted watermelon or papaya.
*Anything peanut butter and chocolate.
*Cucumber salad with a tangy sweet vinaigrette.
*Mango salsa with tortilla chips.
*French onion soup with Gruyere and toasted croutons.
Well, I have now succeeded in making myself quite hungry. I hope I have done the same for you!
If you've got 20 minutes and you care about salty and sweet as much as I do, Alton Brown is always worth a watch:
As well, TLC has a quick clip on tastebuds and further info on salty/sweet preferences that I found pretty interesting.
And there's always this short quiz. (I'm salty, in case you hadn't guessed.)
Which are you: salty or sweet?
And completely unrelated (or is it?), there's this:
What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!