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Heymatt:

Salt and pepper. Salt and pepper. Never anything different on the table. Why salt and pepper? How long have we been in this culinary rut? Why salt? Why pepper? Why not tumeric and chervil?

-- Why? the net

I'd like to take my usual cynical approach and say it's just clever marketing on the part of a powerful cartel of seasonings barons. But salt and pepper have been table staples for too long, so we have no one to blame but ourselves, I think. Salt (in moderation), actually, is a necessity to keep our bodies ticking along smoothly; it was one of the earliest methods of food preservation; and it stimulates taste buds. So every culture in the world has been crazy for salt since about day one. Ground black pepper is a little more arbitrary. The Romans brought it back from the Far East and introduced it to their European empire a couple of thousand years ago. In the Middle Ages it was great for covering the taste of spoiled meat. Like salt, it can enhance anything from gruel to squirrel, and it perked up those downtrodden medieval taste buds.

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