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Friday Follies: New York to Ban Salt in Restaurants?


It’s clearly the Silly Season in legislatures around the country and ’round the globe. Bad economic times are driving governments to try the strangest methods for reordering society. A cynical person might even go so far as to say it’s only about getting more money into the government coffers. With the state of our current Federal spending, maybe that isn’t so cynical after all.

But I digress. this post is about New York State, which is vying to become the wackiest place in the USA from a public policy perspective. Yes, even with California still out there! And to speed them along on that collision course with craziness, they’re now considering a totally new approach: Banning salt. At least in restaurant food.


Should this measure pass, expect an immediate exodus of high-quality chefs and cooks from the Empire State. After all, cooking is all about “the control of heat, moisture and flavor” in the preparation of comestibles. Salt has always been a key component in flavor. Not to mention it’s a key component of you! We all talk about too much salt in the diet, but too little salt is fatal. (Not that we have to worry about that these days, and certainly not in prepared foods.)

How are they going to do this, exactly? They say it’ll be a $1,000 fine for each occurence. What about adding black pepper or red pepper flakes to food; wouldn’t that constitute a violation? There’s plenty of salt in those! Oh, and if you can find a restaurant that doesn’t use softened water, then you’re better than I am at this game. So: If they use any water from their system, does THAT constitute a violation? And how do you count it? I think you see this is really all about the money; make the individual fine look small, then pile on with untold thousands of violations. It’s a quagmire for sure.

Of paramount concern here is not whether New York will follow this folly to its ultimate, stupid conclusion. (Hey, it’s New York; YOU connect the dots.) Rather, it’s what it might mean in other places. Like, say, Texas, where smart people live. (Like, for instance, me.) Maybe we’ve had enough Yankees move down here that we could actually get such a boneheaded ban forced on us here? Imagine what that would do to the margarita trade! Shoot, you’d have to drink only those smooshed-fruit girlie drinks; the ones with sugar on the rim. But wait! Isn’t refined sugar a systemic poison?

We’re doomed.

Except for this one bright thought: Texas ain’t New York. So when the idjits in Albany get done legislating their nannylaws and y’all can’t get fat, or salt, or sugar or anything to eat up there, y’all just think of us down here, shooting our shots and eating our limes. With salt. It’ll help you through the day, I’m sure; I know they do for me…

Enjoy the (Gormless Grub Laws) Heat!

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