Many people love to make jokes about the amount of salt I put on my food when I eat (“Would you like some steak with that salt?”). Contrary to what people may think though, I do understand the health risks of having too much salt but I don’t put salt on everything and when I do, it’s always only enough to taste. I’m definitely of the opinion that a little bit of salt goes a long way – it is one of the basic human tastes after all – and it really is a simple but perfect seasoning.
Although salt is perhaps one of my best friends in the kitchen, I don’t really know all that much about it. Only yesterday had I come across the term “kosher salt”, which I believe – but correct me if I’m wrong – is another name, or another form, of rock salt. It’s a little bit fancy and a little bit more expensive than good old table salt but cooks love using it.
After a Google search and some light reading, I learned that table salt is mined from underground salt deposits while sea salt is derived from the sea (obviously) through the evaporation of sea water. Kosher salt can come from either source but it’s the use of it in “koshering”, or drawing blood out of, meat that gives it its name.
The origins of this stem from the Bible forbidding the ingestion of blood and large granules of salt were used to effectively draw the blood out without dissolving into the meat. “Kosher” means, of course, to conform to the Jewish dietary regulations of kashrut.
Being able to learn even simple knowledge like this is one of the things that gives me great joy in learning how to cook.
“Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt.”
– George Herbert, (1593-1633)