Tonawanda News

Columns

May 15, 2013

DUVALL: Passing on 'pass the salt'

Tonawanda News — In the realm of taste, I’ve always preferred salty to sweet. Asked a preferred not-so-good-for-you indulgence, give me a pile of French fries over a slice of chocolate cake any day.

But oddly enough, I hardly ever add extra salt to things (except, oddly enough considering this example, French fries). 

Despite my off-and-on relationship with salt, I couldn’t help but notice its absence on a restaurant table the other day.

It wasn’t the kind of fancy pants place where the chef presumes to have seasoned every morsel to perfection, precluding the need for additional table-side seasoning.

No, I was at the homestyle-food-on-the-go purveyor Boston Market. There was a metal condiment caddy in the center of the table with a brown pepper shaker and a cardboard cutout of a salt shaker with the words “Where’s the salt?” in large letters. In the fine print the restaurant confessed that, in order to help lower customers’ sodium, salt shakers had been removed from the restaurant’s tables. It was still available back at the drink and condiment counter if you really felt strongly enough to traipse back over there but the implication was clear: You don’t really need it, do you?

Before we move on permit a small detour of a personal nature.

I happen to hold Boston Market in somewhat nostalgic esteem. Their Maple Road location in Amherst is a short walk from where I grew up. I wandered in there one spring afternoon in my junior year of high school looking for my first “real” job — and found it, making a whopping $5.25 an hour.

My tasks? To trim, marinate and spit the raw chicken (about 20 spits of four birds each every day), then wash — by hand — all the metal chaffing dishes and anything else that needed washing. 

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