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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Salt: Is There Anything It Can't Do?

Ah, salt! Our friend salt is capable of even more than I realised. Thanks to an article from Planet Green (a site about money? photosynthesis? I didn't get much past the salt article, to be honest) I now know that salt is capable of so much more than just seasoning foods of all kinds and temporarily blinding trespassers*.

Now, salt is a maginificent seasoning. Let's not ever forget that. Why, in Taiwan they're even adding salt to coffee. A more cycnical person would suggest that it's out of desperation, given that coffee smells great but tastes like stale liniment (well, that's a close guess. I've never actually tasted liniment, and on the advice of DOUI legal counsel F. Johnny Lee, wouldn't recommend it, stale or otherwise.) I think the Taiwanese have simply realised that the taste of salt masks incredibly high levels of caffiene better than even triple creme and hazelnut.

Anyhow, according to the Planet Green article, salt can be used to freshen the old waste disposal, keep grease from splashing up whilst frying**, double as a mouthwash (with baking soda, alas), remove stains, clean up the old mop, and even balance a national budget. Unfortunately, in the latter case, French Guiana's.

I personally have a long and fruitful relationship with salt (and I do not mean by this that I use fruit flavoured salts. Bacon Salt is the only tolerable flavoured salt.) As a child, I was known for my heavy consumption of mustard and salt sandwiches. These consisted of a slice of enriched, white bread, about a teaspoon of yellow sandwich mustard, spread thiny on the bread, and table salt, shaken on the bread until the mustard turned the colour of aged ivory piano keys.

I'm one of the few people I know who thinks fried salt pork is an adequate substitute for bacon. Actually, I'd prefer it if not for the constant suggestions that I might drop dead in mid-rasher.

I typically add salt to everything, even tortilla chips in Mexican restaurants. My philosophy is that if I can't see grains of salt on the item of food in question, it might not be there at all, regardless of the labelling. However, I do not add salt to salt as that would cover up the flavour of the original salt. I'm not mad, you know.

My siblings used to wonder if I was the salt monster from Star Trek the Original Series, and instead of taking the shape of Dr. Leonard McCoy's old flame I had assumed the disguise of a skinny, slightly sweaty adolescent. I think it was this uncertainty that led them to ignore my heavy salt intake, given that any prohibition might set me upon family members for my abnormally high doses of sodium chloride. Just to help along that fear, if one of them looked askance at me as I was emptying a shaker of the stuff, I'd hold up my hands and make that wheezy slurping sound from the creature on the series.

Amazingly, my sodium levels are completely normal after all these years and my blood pressure is on the high side of normal. Still, I can't recommend it for any other person. I'm abnormally tolerant to salt, the way Tom Cruise is apparently tolerant to Prozac.***

It's wonderful though to know that salt has so many other uses. I just hope this isn't a conspiracy to get me to clean mops and the waste disposal.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and freshen my breath for the twentieth time today...

* If it helps, I used kosher salt on those Jehovah's Witnesses, last week.
** I'm guessing Mike Nelson would've liked to know that one last month, if he didn't already.
*** I kid! I think it's quite clear Tom Cruise isn't taking any psychiatric medication at all.

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