Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saltier Than Moi?

I met a guy at an event today who knows a thing or two about foraging. He's rather a specialist, and I'll tell you about his main passion tomorrow.
But today, as he was salting a dandy creation he had just stirred up on a hotplate in the classroom, he waved his little jar of salt at us admiring students.
The little unlabeled jar reminded me of my own little jar of home-evaporated salt for some reason, except his salt was whiter, chunkier, more beautiful.
And he said, "Anyone a salt fan?"
Cranky and I shot up our hands. We must have 16 different types of salt in our designated salt pantry, including our own.
"Try this fleur de sel," said the teacher. I made it myself."
We squealed. I try not to squeal much, but there you have it.
"We make our own, too!" said Cranky, though ours is not technically fleur de sel — it's boiled ocean.
Even so, I basked in perceived mutual admiration. Foodie to foodie, saltie to saltie. Brownie points. Salted caramel points!
Until he began to describe where he gets his raw materials. From natural salt basins on the Sonoma Coast. He scoops handfuls of wet, concentrated, clean salt crystals from wave-filled indentations on the rocky cliffs, lets it dry out briefly on a hot rock, and then takes it home to bake in the sun for a few weeks.
Showoff. Know it all. Smarty pants.
(Did I actually say just the other day my feelings aren't that easily crushed? Pshaw.)
Well. That's fine. That's why we were paying him to teach us. He's the pro.
But dammit, the subject of the seminar was entirely something else, and here he's all Mr. Salt, too.
Pride: scuffed, nothing terminal. I'll be OK.
Bonus: He told us where the salt basins are, and I'm going. Soon.
Even if it begins to rain and I can't bake it in the sun, Cranky said, "Just dry it out in the oven and don't tell."

7 comments:

KathyF said...

A question: I bought some sea salt at a specialty gourmet store. It's sort of ugly greyish, and my husband refuses to try it. Is it okay?

kungfoodie kat said...

Here's a better link to info on Salt Pointe Park.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=453

Kalyn said...

Hmm. I think this is pretty close to where my stepsister lives. I'm overdue for visiting here.

Dagny said...

Good luck with the new batch of salt. Also, can't wait to see what you're going to be doing with mushrooms.

It was great meeting you two.

Stacie said...

salt...mmmm... that's so cool that you make yer own! I guess it's cool that show-off-teacher-guy does too.. at least he tipped ya off the the good stuff!

Sean said...

Salt point has another culinary claim to fame -- those in the know (and with the lung power and buoyant proclivities) go there to harvest abalone. Mmmm ... abalone...

cookiecrumb said...

KathyF: It's safe. The tinge comes from minerals. Think of it as a gourmet calcium tablet.

Kat: Oh, thanks for the link. It's more modern and useful. (But the funky link tells you how to find the salt basins!)

Kalyn: She's in Guerneville, right? So you are correct.

Dagny: Great to meet you! I'll dedicate a jar of salt to you.

Stacie: See, I'm just a jealous mook. The teacher wasn't show-offy at all. Super great guy. I'm the one with impure values.

Sean: I saw some bastards a little further up the coast one year pulling up SACKS of abalone, using scuba tanks. I shoulda shot 'em.