This being NYC, the moron in question is of course a
city councilman state assemblyman. At this point, the most surprising thing is that he doesn’t want to go further. Why ban salt but not sugar? Both are tasty, both are essential to every form of cooking, and both can cause health problems if consumed excessively. Let’s save some lives: No more doughnuts for anyone.
Ortiz admits that prior to introducing the bill he did not research salt’s role in food chemistry, its effect on flavor or his bill’s ramifications for the restaurant industry. He tells me he was prompted to introduce the bill because his father used salt excessively for many years, developed high blood pressure and had a heart attack.
“I think salt should be banned in restaurants. I ask if a dish has salt in it, and if I does, I get something else that doesn’t have salt,” Ortiz tells me, before going on to say that he has eaten, and expects he will continue to eat, among other things, ham, cheese and bread in restaurants, all of which contain salt…
Regardless of the intent, and accepting its sponsor’s claim that it is part of his campaign to improve the public’s health, the bill exhibits profound ignorance not only of matters of taste — literally — but also of the chemistry of cooking.
“It’s a preposterous notion,” says baker extraordinaire Michael London, whose Mrs. London’s Bakery has been a Saratoga Springs institution for more than three decades. “Not using salt would make breads insipid and anemic,” London says. Besides lacking flavor, saltless bread would also have different texture, density and other characteristics as a result of its altered chemistry, London tells me…
“That [bill is] insane,” says Christopher Allen Tanner, a culinary professor at Schenectady County Community College in Schenectady. “You can’t make hams without salt, you can’t make bacon without salt,” he tells me. “There would be no pickles, no relishes, no — no just about everything.”
Even in the Bloombergian paradise, I assume this bill is doomed, but if it passes it may be time for the big A to (finally) abandon ship. Recommendations for a new home base are welcome in the comments; in lieu of that, please sign the petition. Here’s video from Fox of the man with the plan. Note what he says near the end about how this ties into controlling escalating health-care costs.
Update: Worse and worse: I erred in thinking this guy was a councilman. He’s actually a state assemblyman, so this ban would, theoretically, apply statewide. The good news? It’s a lot harder to get a moronic progressive bill through the state legislature than the city council, even in a state as Democratic as New York.