I’m thrilled to publish this guest post from Carri Thurman, baker and chef at Two Sisters Bakery in Homer, Alaska, on one of life’s vital substances, salt. Without it, we die. A kitchen without it is incomplete. A cook who uses it carelessly will flounder. And the cook who, curious and surrounded by salt in solution, decides she wants to try to bring it forth herself? —M.R.  The Alchemy: Salt from Water by Carri Thurman “My mother boils seawater. It sits all afternoon simmering on the stovetop, almost two gallons in a big soup pot. The windows steam up and the house smells like a storm. In the evening, a crust of salt is all that’s left at the bottom of the pot. My mother scrapes it out with a spoon. We each lick a Read On »

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Mark Bitterman shares how one can incorporate miso in daily use because it is not just for soup, via New York Times.

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  Yesterday the NYTimes covered an important health ratio: the amount of potassium relative to the amount salt you consume. While the article by long time health reporter, Jane Brody, leads with the obvious (excessive salt has proven to be a health risk, according to yet another major study), and the headline writer reinforce the obvious (“Sodium-Saturated Diet is a Threat for All”), the article recognizes that everything is about balance and notes the important role potassium-rich foods play in countering salt’s negative effects. “The researchers found that while a diet hight in sodium—salt is the main source—increases your risk,” Brody writes, “even more important is the ratio of sodium (harmful) to potassium (protective) in one’s diet.” This was pointed out to me this summer by Mark Bitterman, author of a great book called Salted, and Read On »

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Bob del Grosso sent me the link to this article in Scientific American on salt by Melinda Wenner Moyer and I read it with a sense of finally.  Increasing evidence that nobody really knows what they’re talking about when they’re talking about salt, except that it has different effects on different people. Given that its fundamental to our existence (without it we literally die) and that it helped to create both stable stationary societies and world travel (food preservation and therefore surplus in a community or on a ship), our main failure would be to undervalue its importance and power.  It is powerfully good and useful; but also, anything so powerful can be used harmfully (as in our processed foods). Since there is so much uncertainty (read Ms. Wenner Moyer’s husbands interview with food authority Read On »

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