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WFAEats: Why So Salty?

Jan 18, 2019

While making a simple dinner the other evening I reached for the salt and was faced with a conundrum: Which of the six within reach to pick? Cajun or Kosher? Celtic or Cornish with lemon and thyme? Gray, pink, or black from the Dead Sea?

That got me thinking about why we love salt – and sometimes acquire it in an aspirational fashion, like designer shoes or handbags.

TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

For a few years now I’ve been dishing up radical wisdom for how to make New Year’s food resolutions, but it hasn’t stuck. 

Despite my best advice, most of you are still out there swearing to cut out carbs or fats or sugar. You’re promising to count points, eat clean or green or something in between. And guess what? You’re going to fail.

As the year draws to a close, lots of us are looking back and making lists of what was memorable. In a town that’s getting as culinarily complex as Charlotte, that gets harder to do each year. You already know about the famous restaurants and their iconic dishes, so here’s a look at some other food experiences you might not know about. Each of them left an impressive aftertaste.

Romaine lettuce field in Yuma, Arizona.
Jeff Vanuga / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Here we are at the culinary crossroads between Thanksgiving and the Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa-New Year’s holidays. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, there’s a hefty helping of alarming news to digest about unsafe foods and recalls.

Sean Sherman, right, and Faye George Greiner.
Amy Rogers / WFAE

On a foggy evening, deep in the woods at the Catawba Indian Nation, chef Sean Sherman explained his epiphany. He thought back to the moment early in his career when he realized, “There’s lots of great food all over the world – but zero restaurants that represent native foods.”

Election Day is not a holiday we celebrate with food. We don’t gather at home and hunker down in the kitchen. We do the opposite: On Election Day we mobilize and make our voices heard in public at the polls.


It’s the time of year when we cook more than usual, and that leads to leftovers. Some people enjoy nibbling their way through morsels of yesterday’s meat, mashed up with warmed-over bread. Others would rather smear peanut butter on a store-bought cracker than touch anything that was cooked, chilled and re-heated.

With all the food and drink books already stretching around the world’s waistline, do we really need more of them?

Of course we do. And each year, fall heralds the release of a brand new crop. Here’s a handful of the books worth digging into.

It's pumpkin spice season. This is Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte.
Courtesy of Starbucks

In case you missed it, we’re smack in the middle of the year’s most contentious season.

No, not election season – pumpkin spice season.

Marcu Loachim / Flickr

Is there anything sadder than a bowl of beautiful peaches that just won’t ripen? 

Woodmill Winery

If you want to immerse yourself in a “full-bodied” grape experience, now’s your chance. The annual Grape Stomp Festival is happening this weekend.

If you’re a person who cooks without recipes, you can probably just skip this entire discussion.

But the rest of us have reached overload. We’ve got recipes falling out of our kitchen drawers, in-boxes – even our phones. In a world where Google returns more than 17 million hits for “apple pie recipe,” how can we possibly keep track of the ones we love and the ones we’d someday like to try?

A banana split.
Thomas Kohler / Flickr / Creative Commons

Sandwiched in between July 4th and Labor Day, there’s not much to celebrate in August – unless you’re a fan of good food and drink. Then it’s 31 days of eating, sipping, and slurping. 

Wikimedia Commons

In a trend we can describe as “out of the frying pan; into the fire,” our country’s discord has poured out of the hallowed halls of politics and into the world of restaurants.

You’ve no doubt heard about the incident at the Red Hen in Lexington, Va. That’s where White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went to dine back in June. Restaurant owner Stephanie Wilkinson, in a show of support for her gay staffers, asked Sanders to leave and cited the current administration’s policies as the reason.

Was that just a blip, an accident of timing?

carrot salad for WFAEats
Noah Fecks

Welcome to the summer doldrums. It’s too hot to cook. We’re bored with burgers and ho-hum hot dogs. We’re drowning in seas of zucchini.

So it’s time to step away from the stove, pour yourself a cold beverage, and kick back with this six-pack of recently released books.