Q: Isn’t salt bad for your health?
No. Actually, the opposite. Salt is essential to health. There’s a reason salt is the only mineral humans eat. Salt has a bad reputation when it comes to blood pressure in particular, but the literature doesn’t conclusively connect salt to blood pressure problems.
Our bodies are *really* good at removing excess salt, and *really* at risk if we don’t get enough. We can also do ourselves a favor by eating less refined salts (those that have unnecessarily added ingredients), and more of the natural stuff. I’m not a homeopath pseudo-science person either- those are just facts. Coincidentally, they taste better too.
Q: How did you learn all this stuff about salt?
I’ve always liked salty foods, and part of the process of enjoyment for me is cultivating a deeper appreciation for those things I enjoy. A few years back I purchased a bunch of books on the topic and began reading through them one by one. Renowned salt expert and culinary writer Mark Bitterman probably had the most to say on the subject. I’ve taken that knowledge and run with it in my own kitchen.
I’m also a registered dietitian by trade and have a master’s degree in public health, so I’m a full fledged food science nerd.
Q: How many types of salt do you own?
Several dozens. I have a full-sized double kitchen cabinet dedicated to different salts, and maybe some day an entire room like a crazy person. It’s one of my favorite ingredients with which to play around in the kitchen. I can make one dish and try out 3 different finishing salts. It’s a much easier way to play with food than to cook 3 different steaks.
Q: Where do you buy your salts?
Some salts I’ve purchased direct from small saltworks who sell online. When I travel, I look for salts that may not be sitting in an online store. I also am a frequent flier at The Meadow, a specialty salt, chocolate and bitters shop based in Portland, and owned by Mark Bitterman himself. There’s a brick and mortar The Meadow in NYC and Tokyo as well.
Q: Is there ever a time you use table salt?
No. I don’t have any table salt in my house, except for in a side by side taste test kit given to me by a Redmond Real Salt rep at a food blogging convention once (these prove my point, and you should go get a sample for yourself if you’re curious!). Outside the home, I carry travel size craft salts with me, which sounds a little boujie while I’m writing it. But hey, at let I know I won’t ever ruin a meal on the go.
Q: What’s your favorite salt?
At the moment, it’s Piran Sel Gris (a sublime, slightly sweet salt) from Slovenia. It makes my mouth very happy.