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As per the instructions on the oatmeal package, I make it like this:

  1. I take a bowl.
  2. I put 1 dl oatmeal into it.
  3. I put 2 dl water on top of it.
  4. I put 0.65 grams of salt on top of it.
  5. I mix them together with a spoon.
  6. I microwave it at 750 watts for 2 minutes.
  7. I take it out and mix it with the spoon again.
  8. I wait for a few seconds and then apply a spoon of lingonberry "jam" (the kind where you can see individual berries).
  9. I pour some milk over this and eat it.

What exactly is the salt for? Is it purely for taste, or does it actually cause some kind of chemical reaction which makes it cook properly or something?

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  • People also put salt on watermelon --- it adds depth to the watery sweetness and makes it taste sweeter. – dma1324 Aug 15 '20 at 0:21
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There are several reasons to use salt in cooking. From that source, the UK Salt Association (yes, that is apparently a thing!), salt is used as:

  • Seasoning
  • Preservative
  • Binding agent (in meat products)
  • Color Controller (in meat products and baked goods)
  • Texture aid (in meat products, baked goods and cheese)
  • Fermentation controller (in baked products and cheese)

The only one of these that applies to your recipe, is seasoning.

Note that apart from tasting 'salty', salt is also a known flavour enhancer which can improve the taste of food and drinks without making them salty. This is why salt is often used even in sweet applications, and occasionally even in cocktails.

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    Salt in porridge is discussed here: theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/nov/10/…. The recommendation for 'perfect porridge' is to add it 'towards the end of cooking'. – Mark Wildon Aug 14 '20 at 15:07
  • Agreed on the "end" thing - I do 2:1 water to oatmeal, microwave without even stirring, then salt and stir and give a little more time as needed. – Kate Gregory Aug 14 '20 at 19:18
  • From my experience, if I forgot the salt in baked goods (bread, drop biscuits, muffins) they taste bland and boring. But salt is also important for some of the chemical processes in cooking and baking. One example is it changes the boiling point of a pot of water (for noodles or in this case porridge). – aherocalledFrog Aug 14 '20 at 20:15
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    1- salt's changing of boiling points is less dramatic than most people think, 2- if you add it at the end it doesn't have a chance to do that anyway. and 3 - when you make oatmeal in the microwave it doesn't really boil, it just gets hot. – Kate Gregory Aug 15 '20 at 0:06

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