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Salt and pepper

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A pair of pepper and salt shakers

Salt and pepper are the common names for edible salt and ground black pepper, which are ubiquitously paired on Western dining tables as to allow for the additional seasoning of food after its preparation. During food preparation or cooking, they may also be added in combination.

Salt and pepper are typically maintained in separate shakers on the table, but they may be mixed in the kitchen. They are typically found in a set (pair), often a matched set, of salt and pepper shakers.[1] They may be considered condiments or seasonings; salt is a mineral and black pepper is a spice.


Salt is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous food seasonings, and is known to uniformly improve the taste perception of food, including otherwise unpalatable food.[2] Its pairing with pepper as table accessories dates to seventeenth-century French cuisine, which considered black pepper (distinct from herbs such as fines herbes) the only spice that did not overpower the true taste of food.[3] Some food writers like Sara Dickerman have argued that, in modern cookery, a new spice could be used in place of the historic ground black pepper.[4][5]

Other cultures[edit]

In Hungary, paprika may replace pepper on the dinner table, while in Basque cuisine, Espelette pepper frequently replaces black pepper.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Jacewicz, Natalie (2 February 2018). "How Did Salt And Pepper Become The Soulmates Of Western Cuisine?". NPR. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  2. ^ Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake (2010). "3 — Taste and Flavor Roles of Sodium in Foods: A Unique Challenge to Reducing Sodium Intake". In Jane E. Henney; Christine L. Taylor; Caitlin S. Boon (eds.). Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-14806-1. Retrieved 29 October 2022.
  3. ^ Shrem, Max (August 19, 2008). "When did salt and pepper become a pair?". slashfood.com. Archived from the original on August 19, 2008.
  4. ^ Dickerman, Sara (4 January 2012). "Against Pepper". slate.com. Slate. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  5. ^ Wilson, Bee (3 October 2019). "Salt and Pepper Are No Longer Enough". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 November 2019.