A sea salt taste test

I bought some sea salt the other day. Dead Sea Salt no less. I’d heard a commentary extolling the delicacy that is yuppie salt. Who knew you could spend more on salt?
 
Sea salt costs quit a deal more than ordinary umbrella-girl salt. But consumers spend almost nothing for salt to begin with, probably why working the salt mines is not considered a great job. So the price of gentrified salt is half of a passible bottle of olive oil. Anyway I got the sea salt on sale and I was determined to hold a taste test.

I heard there was a texture difference apparently, and I could see that was going to be true. Sea salt was like so many little crystals compared to refined white sand of table salt. But a taste difference? Malarkey. Salt and pepper is like hot and cold or sweet and sour, absolutes. When something tastes salty it doesn’t taste sea-salty, it’s salty or too salty.

As near as I could recall, mother’s home-ec theory taught that salt was what we added to enhance the taste of a meal. We didn’t taste the salt, we tasted the enhanced food flavor, or we had used too much salt.

But that principle never rang true to me actually. It was like having us kids believe that there was more nutrition in the crust of the bread as opposed to the center. My sisters helped mom bake and noticed that the outer edge of the bread was of the same lump of dough. They called her on it when she insisted they eat the crust. Mom’s salt edict seemed more dictum, this time anti-sodium.

What are we TALKING about, pretending that salt’s a secondary enhancement of flavor?! When we put salt on popcorn, we do it to taste the salt! When we put salt on corn, cornflakes, cabbage or cantaloupe, (I don’t put salt on any of those, I mean when you do) we don’t do it to enhance their flavor, we do it to enhance our eating enjoyment because we enjoy salt.

So let me tell you, when I sprinkled sea salt over steamed spinach like so many croutons, and took a bite, I knew I would never go back. Olive oil and sea salt is all you need to eat anything. I’ll keep table salt to cook the noodles, but I won’t eat it. To eat table salt now, to me it tastes like iodine. Or like drawing a thread up your throat. Or like the second day of an oxygen tube blowing into your nose. Unbearably piercing. Common table salt tastes like poison, and I’m glad to hear people are catching on. No Hellman’s? Forget the sandwich. Or was that Miracle Whip? No matter, imposters all. No sea salt, postpone the meal.

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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