Is it ever ok to ask your host for salt and pepper?

As a guest to someone’s home for a meal, is it ever ok to ask your host for salt and pepper (or other seasoning), if it is not offered?

In my opinion, of course it is! Everyone has a different palate. I might be a little offended if I’d made something exquisite and was asked for ketchup, for instance. But most else wouldn’t bother me, including sriracha, Tabasco, or whatever.


My sister’s best friend in college ate at our house quite often, and poured ketchup over everything.

I mean everything. Including indian food.


Even gulab jamun?

Oh no, sad! Even biriyani?

I mean she was served whatever the meal of the day happened to be, then she squirted ketchup all over it. So dal, rice, veg… ketchup.

Don’t recall biryani ever being vegetarian when she was over (she’s vegetarian), but pick any other meal, and yes.

No to gulab jamun - that’s not a meal, that’s dessert.

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I have certainly asked when elsewhere, and not been offended if someone asked at my table.

Everyone seasons differently, and enjoys a different level of seasoning (and spice).


I don’t think I’d feel it was OK to ask. Maybe if it was family. Maybe not even then. The situation has never arisen for me.

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Depends on the situation…
But at least always taste first!


I wouldn’t. Its one meal…I’m sure I’ll survive a lack of seasoning.

I’m sure most of you are in the same boat…we’re good cooks, and people are already intimidated to cook for us…so the last thing I want to do is imply that it’s not up to my standards. (I’m still a little intimidated to cook for my chef pal, even though I know his first seal of approval is that he didnt have to make it!)

And the chances of my host (or their so) realizing it’s underseasoned and fetching the s&p is pretty high.


I always have s&p on my table, although I agree with @badjak that a person should at least taste first (I have one family member who always reaches for the salt before he takes a bite of anything . . . but he’s still a good guy :wink: And I don’t mind if people ask for a hot sauce, but I would probably roll my eyes if asked for ketchup.

And I’ve been known to ask for s&p when at my sister’s as she doesn’t cook with it. Otherwise, I tend to eat what’s served as is.


Me too, at least with salt. Nor do I add salt to my food at the table. But s & p are always on the table for my partner (and guests, of course).


Yes, my BIL has to avoid salt, so I don’t expect sis to use it. And I do find as I get older, my salt tolerance has decreased.


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Same. Always have s&p on the table for those who think my food isn’t salty enough (they cray! :joy:). If we’re serving pizza and/or wings, several sauce options, RPF, Calabrian peppers, etc. are on the counter for self-serve.

I would probably only ask for s&p if it’s good friends who are hosting. They wouldn’t blink if I asked for hot sauce, either.

Like most etiquette questions: know your audience & don’t be a dick.


Interesting etiquette topic. Over the years when invited to a meal at friend or family with some frequency you get to know what they tend to put on the table. I have actually made gifts of saltshakers and peppermills where I thought they were missing. Sort of a subtle hint.


Many years ago, I was (newly) dating this woman (not my current girlfriend) and had her over for dinner. I made egg fried rice with vegetables. When I served it, she asked for mustard and proceeded to drown the dish in mustard. I didn’t care, as she seemed happy.
I did have to purchase more mustard, though.


Of course. I also can’t think of a time salt and pepper weren’t just on the table. And I am happy to provide any condiments you want if you eat at my place. I’ll even give you ice for your red wine, if that’s your thing. (Not a hypothetical.)


Not uncommon in Spain in my experience. Or, at least, the red coming straight out of the fridge.


Yes. Whyever not? Any host who would be insulted is not someone I would care to dine with.