Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sweet on Salt.

It struck me this evening, as I fawned over my new jar of French Sea Salt, the very odd timing of this new fixation of mine. As New York City is making headlines over their proposed ban on salt, I am buying jars of the briny substance.

My fingers now on the keys, like hens, peck desperately, capturing the last morsels insecta of the day. The close-by window remains open, lingering into the coolness of early spring's evening; and, I feel balance return if only fleeting in its flight. I savour red leaf lettuce, gently wilted by warm wild rice, and my lips feel tingling reminders of salt's kiss...

It is funny how childhood memories sometimes come as uninvited guests. They conjure relevance, and enter without a warning knock. So it goes...twice today. Twice so far, at least. Magnolias are blooming. And, as I was walking from the bus-stop to work, I passed some of this foliaged glory.

When I was about 8 years old, there was a magnolia tree underneath my second-story bedroom window. It was young yet, and magnolias don't get very tall anyway; at least, not Second-Story Window tall. Their energy, more focused on growing plethoras of petals every spring, than matching height with pines and oaks. While unseen, this tree essenced my room with its flavor, flora and fragrance of spring. How does a mind put Magnolias and Salt together? I won't question mine, for fear its answer.

Magnolias and Salt. Both, object lessons in Sunday School. I remember the pastor taking a fuzzy magnolia bud and peeling it back layer by layer (all the while I was aghast at the devastation of The Bloom, ruined before it could reach its God-ordained beauty -- "I don't think God wants his created buds objectified in such ways," I thought. And yes, I did think in such a way when I was 6), and like an onion, it revealed many layers. This, the pastor said, was like our hearts. Sometimes myriad layers, ugly outer casings, were covering up the beauty, embryonic in its growth. Its time had not yet come; its spring had not ushered it on, pushing it further with assuring warmth. It it safe to bloom now little one...

And, salt. The salt of the earth. The light of the world. The city on a hill. And, I am reminded by a Groovy Song, that even so, sometimes "We all need help to feel fine (let's have some wine!) ."

I had a realization, about a year ago now: I craved salt. Lauded are low sodium diets, and packaged goods boast "reduced sodium" varieties. This must be good, eh? However, I eat nothing prepackaged. Vegetables? Rice? Fruit? Pulses? Nothing is salted. And, I salted nothing. I run, and I started getting horrible cramps in my feet and legs. "You need salt," I was told. That makes me 2 for 2 on unusual doctor recommendations: Eat More Salt and Gain Weight.

Then, I discovered Sea Salt. Why do people use table salt anyway? It tastes overwhelmingly brackish, strangely bland even. I didn't think I liked salting foods, because I didn't like salt. A least, I didn't like table salt. It was boring; and, was consistent in taste and dissolved in texture, leaving only its flavor to trace. Sea salt remains true to itself, reminding through encountered grit of its home -- the sea, and sand. It doesn't mix well. It stands out and lets you know it is different. It is the Light of the Dish.

North American and Himalayan sea salt have been part of my gustatory repertoire for awhile now. But, my affinity's newest find? French. Harvested from the Isle of Noirmoutier, Brittany, France by "sauniers." I am quite taken with it (and, with the thought of "sauniers").

I wanted a salad tonight. Ok. I'll be honest. Really, I just wanted to taste this salt again. I miss the sea...

~ Sea Salted Salad ~

Red Leaf lettuce
Wild and Brown rice
French sea salt
Freshly cracked white pepper

Tonight, I need some help feeling "fine." I'm going to go eat grapes...the parents of wine, yes? Should have the same effect...


  1. I am perpetually low on salt. It's not just the lack of prepackaged foods, it's the lack of salt in BREAD, crackers, muffins, cupcakes, cakes and such. But I've always been low on it.

    Just make sure to get some iodine every now and again. Regular table salt has it in there and I've learned there are some very nasty diseases if you get too low in iodine.

    Sea salt rules. Have you seen the pink and black stuff?

  2. That is the beauty of Sea Salt, it has naturally occurring iodine. As does seaweed. For a spell, I was wrapping everything I ate in Nori sheets because I feared I was low on iodine. (And, I too read about "very nasty diseases")!

    Oh yes! (I giggle with glee)...Himalayan Pink sea salt? That stuff is gorgeous. And, the grey is tasty too! The black? Now I'm on the hunt...

  3. Yes I do remember the beautiful tree beneath your bedroom and the make believe world beneath it's far reaching branches. The little log cabin still stands I hope. I remember you trying to set a real fire in the little pretend fireplace and all the intricate meals prepared with mud, rock, leaves,greenery and twigs. I remember you taking the sand out of the sandbox and sprinkling it like salt for seasoning and I pretending to love every bite.
    Much like I make a big fuss over the pretend tea at my weekly toddler times. I have so much fun with it that I am sure I have the little ones convinced that we are truly drinking the most delicious tea indeed.

  4. Oh yes, I do remember trying to set a fire in that little fireplace! And, spending hours making perfectly formed chocolate kisses à la Hershey's out of mud.

    Childhood -- I want to go back there someday...