We all know that dining hall food will never taste like a gourmet restaurant, let alone your mom's home cooking. I've found a lot of the basics served at my dining locations can be easily spruced up with a little salt (and sometimes pepper). It wasn't until recently one of my friends recommended I put salt on my ice cream - and now it's became a regular part of my routine. 

cream, milk, dairy product, ice, dairy, sweet, yogurt, sorbet
Kathleen Lee

Did my roommate start looking at me weird when I began to do this excessively? Yes. Is it the best way to make average ice cream taste extra delicious? Also, yes. 

As a huge fan of the popular salted caramel ice cream flavor, I should have known this sweet and salty combination is what makes it so good. When the dining hall was running low on fun flavors and only had vanilla for a couple of weeks, this trick was awesome. However, I do have to admit that the best ice cream flavor I added salt to was actually strawberry. But still, it actually makes any basic flavor taste better, I swear. 

How Does This Work? 

It turns out that salt, a natural flavor enhancer, works just as well on sweet foods as it does salty. Personally, the sweet and salty mixture is the best flavor combo in any situation. But, obviously I am not the first to realize this because as mentioned above I'm pretty sure you can get a salted caramel anything these days.

What happens when you add salt is actually pretty cool, and a little unexpected. Much of what salt does is actually intensify the scent of foods, rather than the taste itself. But, for those of you that don't know scent plays almost as big a role as your taste buds in flavor perception. If you want a more scientific explanation of salt and its magical chemical properties, check out this page

(Sorry, had to)

Or, just trust my opinion on this one and keep the salt on the table after dinner. When plain or sub-par ice cream gets boring, try this trick to make this regular dessert that much more satisfying. Maybe just don't do it in public.