Monday, April 22, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
S is for Salty or Sweet?


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!


22 comments:

  1. I agree. The combo salt + sweet is great!

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    1. I like it, another fan of salty and sweet! Sweet!

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  2. Love the salty, sweet posting today. The 21 minutes were well worth it, if only for the smiles he brings. Kim gave us some heavenly chocolate fudge last year with salt on it ...to die for!!!

    This salty/sweet thing gives me a new idea for a new blog I want to do! Thank you.

    xo

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    1. Alton is a real favorite around our house--Seth used to watch his shows all the time!

      Looking forward to seeing your blog post... salty and sweet in REAL life, not the kitchen, is also a favorite topic of mine--the contrasting tastes in life, playing off each other, making the flavor stand out... hmmmm.

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  3. Hello from the A to Z! I love your sweet/salty post (I think I'm mostly sweet, but I do love the sweet/salty combination- like chocolate covered pretzels and I also looked at your R day and Q (I would have done quinoa- love that stuff). Great posts and I love the positive happy feeling of your blog- it's my kind of place! new follower now!
    A2Z Mommy And What’s In between

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Tracy! Looking forward to seeing you in the future, too!

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  4. Eat something salty and then follow it with something sweet! ;-) New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to visiting again.

    Sylvia
    http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Sylvia. I agree, salty THEN sweet is also very satisfying.

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  5. I'm definitely one who prefers salty AND sweet. My first memory of this delightful combo was in 2nd or 3rd grade, and I was eating pretzels and a Snickers bar at the same time. It was so amazing it's been one of those memories that really stuck.

    Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,
    Jocelyn

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    1. I'm a huge fan of specific food memories, Jocelyn. People get funny looks on their faces when I say, "I remember the first time I ate pesto." Or, "Remember that mango we had in 1987? That was the best mango ever." Ha.

      I AM having fun with the challenge. A blast, in fact. Home stretch time...

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  6. I am more salty than sweet, though your perfect bites sound delish, and I do love sweet chilli sauce and cream cheese as a dip.

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    1. Spoken like a true Aussie, Ida. My former sister-in-law introduced me to the sweet-chili-cream cheese combo, and she threw in chopped cilantro as an added bonus (at least, to me--I love cilantro!). It was heavenly, and a completely new combination when I first tasted it, back in 1998. Thanks for the memory!

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  7. The perfect salty/sweet treat for me is Kettle corn!! And I love popcorn too--so it's a win win. :) xo!

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    1. How did I forget kettle corn?! It's one of my very favorites too!!

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  8. My sweet tooth never goes away. It's always there saying "Hmm, did someone mention chocolate?"

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    1. Chocolate is never on my *must* list, Kellie, but if you mention a creme brulee, I'd be hard pressed to refuse... custard is always a priority!

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  9. Salty and sweet sounds a lot like me. I am also Blogging A to Z.

    http://www.AMomsPointOfView.com

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    1. I suppose it could be a personality type, Kimmy! I'll have to remember that!

      Thanks for coming by!

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  10. I don't have much of a sweet tooth - and when I do want sweets, I want baked goods like cake or cookies, not candy. But mostly I prefer salty stuff. My husband, on the other hand, has the biggest sweet tooth I've ever seen. And yet, he never gets cavities...

    Ashlee / Ramblings of a Silly Girl

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    1. I agree--baked stuff is way better than candy. And for me, custard-based desserts are best of all!

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  11. S: I looooove kettle corn (especially homemade and shipped to me, all surprise-like!) and McDonalds french fries dipped in a McDonalds chocolate shake. Nummers!

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    1. I think I need to make some kettle corn... curious whether any will actually make it into the mail???

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