Salt and pepper is the common name for edible salt and ground black pepper, which are traditionally paired on dining tables where European-style food is eaten so as to allow for the additional seasoning of food after its preparation. During food preparation or cooking, they may also be added in combination, even mixed together. They may be considered condiments or seasonings; salt is a mineral and black pepper is a spice.
The pairing of salt and 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. They are typically found in a set (pair) of salt and pepper shakers, often a matched set. Salt and pepper are typically maintained in separate shakers on the table, but may be mixed in the kitchen. 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.
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