Remember that old maxim, "Never separate the salt and pepper"? Over on Gilt Taste, JJ Goode is building a good case for why we should.
Goode calls it the Pepper Conspiracy. Unlike salt, which is necessary for decreasing bitterness and enhancing flavors in food, pepper is its own spice. With its own flavor. We don't add cumin or paprika to every single dish, so why should we add pepper?
At some point in history, the salt and pepper became irrevocably linked. Goode theorizes that it happened around the time when chilis started arriving from the New World. He imagines the peppercorn industry leaders coming up with a plot: "Get to the recipe writers, the cooks—tell them to season with salt and pepper!"
Whether or not this history is true, Goode has a point. In nearly every recipe we read, including our own here on The Kitchn, we find a tiny embedded instruction to "add salt and pepper to taste." It does indeed start to look like a conspiracy after a while.
Goode isn't calling for the banishment of pepper from our foods; rather that it be treated as the spice it is. Instead of adding it automatically, he asks us to only use pepper when its presence would enhance the dish, just as with any other spice in our cupboard.
What do you think?
• Read the Article: The Great Pepper Conspiracy by JJ Goode from Gilt Taste
(Image: Gilt Taste)