"I don't want it to taste like wallpaper paste."
The internet is in love with Ina Garten, the self-made cookbook author, cooking show host, and, with her husband Jeffrey, one half of the duo that epitomizes #relationshipgoals. Known for her low-key, made-for-entertaining recipes, it's probably no surprise that she keeps her own breakfast super simple. Bon Appetit recently caught up with Garten to find out what she typically keeps on her grocery list. Her must-have-on-hand-always list is pretty standard: lemons, butter, eggs, Parmesan cheese, chocolate, and oatmeal. Oatmeal may be the outlier there, but for Garten, it's essential: "I've had the same thing for breakfast every day for 10 years," she says. "Coffee and McCann's Quick Cooking Irish oatmeal with lots of salt."
Why with lots of salt? According to Garten, "I don't want it to taste like wallpaper paste." Fair enough. Garten makes oatmeal in the microwave with a splash of milk, along with salt, and—if it's her birthday—some maple syrup.
Left to its own devices, oatmeal is khaki-colored glop: textureless, tasteless, squelchy. But a pinch of salt makes all the difference. At Extra Crispy, we're also big fans of savory oatmeal. Food editor and spice-aficionado Kat Kinsman promotes using a few hearty shakes of hot sauce in your porridge. The restaurant OatMeals is a big fan of adding bacon, cheese, and apples to your morning grains, in homage to Canada. I like a generous pinch of Maldon salt in my toasted oatmeal and jammy fruit.
Salt does so much for literally anything it touches. Sprinkled over fruit, salt makes for an entirely different flavor experience. It neutralizes the bitterness in coffee. It ups your granola game ten-fold (at least). And don't forget, salt cleans and seasons your cast-iron pan. You know, so you can keep cooking all those delicious things—and make them more delicious with a pinch of salt.