Pass the Salt please...

December 13th, 2012

Largely ignored and only really given thought when stocks are low and more needs to be added to the shopping list. Used everyday, (in my house anyway) integral to balance and enhance the flavouring of nearly every meal I cook. Salt & Pepper, barely a flicker of recognition given when taking a pinch or two to add to cooking, almost an after thought, but without which I think nearly all meals would miss a great deal of flavour and depth.

Ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both flavor and it’s capacity as a medicine. Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice. One of the most common spices added to food. It may be found on nearly every dinner table in the industrialized world, alongside….. table salt.

Salt, essential for animal life in small quantities, but harmful in excess. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. What a dull place life would be without salt. One of the oldest, most ubiquitous food seasonings. The taste of salt (saltiness) a basic human taste

Until recently, my Maldon was stuck in its box and Pepper was ground out of one of those cheap ready packaged grinder deals you pick up at the supermarket. Nothing wrong with either, until the day I brought a little coffee grinder and ground the peppercorns in that, what a revelation. Although now I am tempted to get one of those really heavy mortor and pestles, the one that you don’t need to try very hard with but they get the job done.

A fascination with table salts started. Salt piled up in mounds catches the light in a pretty wondrous way, the texture and feel as a pinch is sprinkled over anything is a lovely thing. If you are going to put the salt in something pretty you can’t leave out the pepper, they the brother and sister of Spice World.

I noticed the other day I have quite a little collection of salt and pepper cellars now. Cheap and cheerful or a little more fancy, they are a joy to look at and use as a part of the cooking ritual or at the table for dinner. I think they give a little dignity and show some respect to two of the most used and vital ingredients of the house.

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