. . . it always puzzles me why chefs don't err on the side of slightly underseasoning if they are going to have salt and pepper on the table.
. . . I'm not fanatical about salt. When I cook, I use it on meat and starches but not fresh vegetables. I like salty snacks when I'm in the mood. My blood pressure is good, so I don't have to worry about it.
On the other hand, I have a friend who is more health conscious than I, never salts anything and drives me crazy by actually de-salting pretzels with his fingers before eating them.
. . . The moral of this story is -- well, there is no moral except my usual boring everything in moderation. But the point is, I like salt but I wish restaurant kitchens would go easy with the salt shaker.
I agree. I have noticed that many upscale European restaurants don't even have salt and pepper shakers on the tables. There is an understanding in these places that the chef and other kitchen staff will season foods as they are supposed to be seasoned. I have very rarely experienced food that was oversalted.
I think Americans tend to use more salt than diners across the ocean. But if you're headed for Italy, prepare yourself for the restaurants in Venice -- they terribly oversalt foods, especially fish.