Salts of the Earth: The Beauty and Basics of Artisan Salt
Black Diamond. Bolivian Rose. Amethyst Bamboo. Danish Viking. Just a few intriguing names of the artisan salts catalogued in Mark Bitterman's history/cookbook, Salted. Recently, due to a change in consumer values and a desire to know where our food comes from, artisan salts have made a comeback.
After reading a story about salt in a fashion magazine, of all places, I picked up a copy of Salted to see what all the fuss was about. I was skeptical--how interesting could a book on salt be? Turns out, very. Salt is the only mineral we eat. Before "Big Salt" took over, artisan salts ruled the world. European nobility cellared it like wine. Profits from salt sales funded the Third Crusades. It was taxed and hoarded and worshiped. You get the picture.
The bright light Bitterman shines on "Big Salt" is eye opening (industrial manufacturing for the sake of mass production strips salt of its natural minerals, for starters). Take advantage of how easy it is to get the real stuff: a nice sel gris or fleur de sel and taste the difference for yourself. For the more adventurous, try cooking on a salt block. Most "good" grocery stores have a nice selection of salts. To purchase online or learn more try The Meadow (Mark Bitterman's salt obsession come to life), Jacobsen Salt Company or The Filling Station.