For the longest time, we were told to substitute butter for margarine, and restrict salt. Now butter is back, but salt still remains taboo in the typical American diet, and for good reason. The industry uses far too much of it, in a highly refined form, with dangerous additives, to make products taste good. This excess has resulted in wide-spread high blood pressure, potassium deficiency, and liver, kidney and heart disease. This is again a prime case for quality. Salt is actually a necessity in its natural form, a different food entirely form its commercial cousins.
It's fun looking to the science behind traditional foods, and rediscovering what our senses already know. Salt is irresistible for a reason.
Watching the BBC's Planet Earth series, I am always amazed by the footage of elephants voyaging into salt caves during the darkest hours of the night, to source the life giving mineral in droves. They have literally shaped the caves over generations of salt mining, with their powerful tusks. It's striking to see one of the world's most prehistoric animals making such a precise journey for salt, guided by nothing more than centuries of genetic code.
Our taste for salt is just as fierce. As discussed in the book Nourishing Traditions, and to quote author Sally Fallon; "Salt is essential to life, that is why we have salt taste buds. Without salt, we die. We need salt for protein digestion, carbohydrate digestion, adrenal function, cellular metabolism and brain development. Unrefined salt provides us with many trace minerals."
My very close friend Kelly, worked for years with the local company- Grain and Salt Society, introducing me to her favorite product, "Flower of the Ocean." This salt is without a doubt the most luxurious staple. Whisked into scrambled eggs, added to stocks, or even sprinkled over dark chocolate truffles, once you try this stuff you will never go back to regular table salt. And no, the company is not paying me to say this. Kelly recently gave me the sweetest salt box, (pictured above), which inspired today's reflections on this precious mineral. Thanks Kelly!
My former salt jar, which I purchased years and years ago, from an antique dealer's yard sale.
Another collection in the making. . .