Food critics don’t get much sympathy from the general public, mostly because the general public has no idea how food critics operate, how much they have to eat, and how their doctors fret over their health. (I mostly nod sheepishly when my doc tells me to lose weight; I know it ain’t gonna happen.)

So when a fellow food writer told me one of Tom Sietsema‘s tricks to prevent overindulgence, I was impressed by its simple brilliance. After taking enough bites to render judgment, Sietsema apparently salts his desserts to prevent needless nibbling.

I’ve never meet Sietsema, so I don’t know what he looks like, but others have told me he’s fit. This would help explain it—-that and a personal fitness trainer, I suspect. But regardless, I wanted to check with the Post dining critic to see if the story was true.

E-mailed Sietsema:

I DO salt my desserts to prevent over-eating. Not always, but often enough. As you know, it’s all too easy to keep nibbling and nibbling and nibbling if something is in front of you, no matter how good or bad the dish is.

I asked Sietsema how long he’s been practicing his sodium cover-up, who he learned it from, and whether he’s ever been tempted by a superior dessert to eat through the salt crust. His response:

I’ve been salting my sweets for at least a decade or so, and I seem to recall reading that veteran critic Gael Greene did the same. But I can’t verify that. (I DO know that she used to suck on chocolate truffles, then spit them into tissue and toss them — her way of enjoying something exquisite, the low-cal way. LOL)

I have not returned to a dessert that I’ve salted myself. Wish I could give you a funny kicker, but that’s the truth.

Photo by emdot