03 May 2008

salt sel alati salz sal

i ate a smoky, crispy, fatty, salty piece of bacon this morning at work. i work in a local restaurant kitchen. the cuisine is self-defined as new south latino fusion. so tasty. i'm welcoming new flavor combinations, learning to enhance, enrich my cooking techniques, working with commercial kitchen equipment again, growing and playing with food.
back to the bacon. i can't remember the farm it came from, but it was *salty*. i could only eat a very small pinch, even as analati! i lifted it off of the parchment paper saturated in grease after having been baked on a half sheet pan. biting into perfectly crispy pork fat, allowing it to melt against the heat of my mouth, then on to the meat of the piece, chewy, salty. my nose taking in the heavy hickory smoke - so strong, my eyes stung - permeating the air in the kitchen and joining my multi sensory enjoyment of this morsel.
this and my perusing the book entitled SALT, given to me by my mama on greek easter last weekend, have inspired me to blurb about salt. my love affair with salt is a long one. i am exhausted as i write, but i promise to return with more, perhaps even dream about it to share later.
in the meantime, let me leave you with a story i stumbled upon earlier this evening on the web...

...from blog: http://mandalamadness.blogspot.com/2007_09_01_archive.html -- "There was a child made all of salt who very much wanted to know where he had come from. So he set out on a long journey and traveled to many lands in pursuit of this understanding. Finally he came to the shore of a great ocean. How marvelous, he cried, and stuck one foot in the water. The ocean beckoned him in further saying, "If you wish to know who you are, do not be afraid." The salt child walked further and further into the water dissolving with each step, and at the end exclaimed, "Ah, now I know who I am." ~ancient teaching story"

i'm back. i ask myself when it was that i became aware of salt. when i think of salt, when i smell it, taste it, i think of the sea, of my yia-yia. is it strange that i relish the salt that coats my skin after i've been swimming in salty waters, sometimes even lick my forearm or suck on a few strands of my hair? i like its grit, how it pools in dryness on my skin, gritty flowing waves of salt on me.
my interest in any food, herb or spice, any flavoring, really only began in the summer of 1982 when my parents sent me to greece for several months to live with family and attend Greek public school for personal and linguistic development. ( well, there was the event of the lonely iceberg lettuce and a little shaker of Knorr Aromat seasoning, which was the advent of my cooking life...more to that another time) i was a stick-skinny little swiss girl with long hair in spring. by the end of summer, an intense haircut, the advent of puberty and many luscious meals later, i curved out into a plumper little greek girlwoman, shorter-haired version of me. to the meals...