Brine – A Kitchen Essential.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 8.22.43 AMAs we all now know, salt is da bomb. However salt can be tricky to deliver. Adding it after cooking works, and if done carefully is safest because the food will no longer condense and become more salty, but this process excludes some of salts many culinary benefits. Rubbing the outside of a product before cooking also works well and if rested for some time can allow for the salt to permeate the product, tenderising and creating a more in-depth  flavour. The bees knees for delivering the full impact of all of salts benefits is of course pickling, but that itself has many drawbacks. It takes a long time, and of course provides a very salty finished product. Brining, call it pickling-light is an excellent way of getting most of the best benefits of salt, without sacrificing too much time, and of course without making things too salty (or fermenting). Continue reading

Salt in the Wound

Thanks for the iconograph to http://penguinsix.com/2011/03/17/hong-kong-panic-buying-salt-due-to-japanese-radiation-fears/

You may or may not have heard about the massive salt hoarding that went on in Asia last year just after Fukushima became world-famous. Well, today I learned through Andrew Leyden that one year on many are still trying to finish the massive amounts of salt that they had bought during the panic.

It brought to mind another irrational overreaction to a catastrophe, where automobile deaths rose dramatically after 9-11 due to irrational fear of flying. I wonder, how many Asians will die prematurely as a result of the hypertension brought on by over consumption of salt?

Salt: A World History

I just finished reading the audio book (also available e and paper formats) Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky, read by Scott Brick. And it is a must read for any food scholar and for a lot of food enthusiasts.

Kurlansky weaves a very interesting and approachable tale of our primate band through the lens of  a resource – the only rock we eat – now taken for granted but just scant decades ago one of the most valued, and trouble causing food stuffs. He deftly mixes a well-rounded recipe of whimsy, fact, lore and even ancient recipe to keep the reader engrossed in what is probably something we all take for granted.

The book would be worth the price if only for the anchovy or corned beef recipes, but is also so full of great information about our shade history that it is worth the price in just understanding our odd nature.

Of the Audio Book, the reader, Scott Brick, has a pleasant and clear voice that is bright and has enough inflection to keep one interested even when going over somewhat dry (salt is a desiccant) sections.

http://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B002V1JA0M