Salt: A love letter
"Salt of the Earth."
"Worth their salt."
"Take it with a grain of salt."
Tay Tay and I were obsessed with salt. We had a little pinch-pot that rested on the shelf above the stove that accompanied our plates to the dinner table. It was sprinkled liberally on every dish.
Gandhi walked to the Arabian Sea to protest the prohibition of Indian citizens from harvesting and selling salt, requiring them to purchase exclusively of the English market, taxed heavily.
Salt is gorgeous.
Ranging from the briny white encrusted surfaces of ocean shores, the peach marbled of Himalayan salt mines, the sel de gris harvested from the base of the sea, and the mottled granules harvested from seaweed in Japan.
It's sources varied, it's flavor familiar.
A small lick of a salt rock acts to prime the palate.
It enhances and brings out the flavor of any dish (especially sweets) and satiates the body in a way its lack will not.
My friend Anna makes this broth. It's so many things: vegetables, bones, a dash of fish oil right before serving.
The comfort in all the hot savory elixir imbibed at the temperature barely below burning your tongue seemed to cure any ailment. "My rule of thumn is 21-25 grams of salt per gallon," She let me know once.
I remember the way the broth would make me stretch, as if I came from a dry sauna or a hot spring.
Everything loosened, relaxing into a place of better alignment.
Cari has my favorite salt, I still can't find it in stores.
It's that flaky celtic sea salt that holds a crystalline shape like a snowflake dissolving on the tip of your tongue.
There is no better pair with salt then a lover's warm skin dried after wave chasing.
With these indulgences of course comes the consequence of their imbalance, the reality in which I am personally aware.
As a personality trait, to be salty is to be irritated, angry, hostile.
It's attributed to the agitated, the one with the ruffled feathers, reacting rather than listening.
Frustrated and impatient.
When I think of "salty" as a personality trait I imagine an angry salt shaker clamoring back and forth on a tabletop, spilling grains from its porous head. I imagine a salty person grabbing this angry shaker and turning it over their food, adding fuel to their own inferno. Slamming a spooned fist at the table to command attention. Spewing a rant to a family who exchanges downward glances and stirs their potatoes.
Then why is it such a contradiction when they say, "worth your salt?" or "salt of the earth?"
Salt was currency once. To be worth your salt is to be worth your paycheck in Roman times.
I like to think of it as the saline quality in our blood.
Is what we do, our action, worthy of the salt in our veins?
Are we earning our keep as stewards?
Are we maintaining our worth as children of the sea?
And "salt of the earth" is term used for the best kind of people.
I have earthbound grounded salt people I love so much. Their faces easily come to mind with this term.
There's something about soil stained finger-nails and thick unwashed hair.
Something about the way the earth collects on them in a way that makes them more vibrant then others.
I think of Matthew Carter and Anna.
I think of Seth, Hailee, Caleb, and Melinda. These are salt of the earth people. Chicken raisers and broth makers.
I can't exactly put my finger on the magic of salt.. it's presence is common in spell-casting and purifying rituals.
Salt circles are meant to protect, seal in a ceremonial practice.
Playing off of old cliches, I hold the memory of shaky teenagers spreading the baker's cabinet mortons in a circle around them to candlelight in anticipation of a demonic force. Even a base knowledge of salts properties is known in a pinch (no pun intended).
Why am I writing this treatise on my love of salt?
On the subject of salt as so fundamental and woven into the personal and the cultural?
This meandering love note addled with inaccuracies no doubt.
I made these little salt rings to cast ritual circles and needed to put into words what salt means to me.
I'll take whatever salt you offer, a grain or a boulder.
Any sort, I'll inevitably touch it to the tip of my tongue.
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea. - Karen Blixon
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