Naomi Duguid's insightful exploration of the uses of salt makes an everyday ingredient exciting and fascinating.
Duguid’s long career as a culinary writer has been marked by careful attention to culture as well as sensitivity to the practical work of cooking. She encourages readers whose interests may take them a long way from their local traditions by offering clearly written recipes and frequent notes about adapting them for personal taste. Yet she always makes it clear why something is traditionally made the way it is.
Salt, as she says, is the only food we all need. But in pre-modern times, access to salt in various forms depended on geography and politics: wars were fought over access. Salt’s uses therefore span an amazing range of purposes, from preserving to flavoring everything from fruits and vegetables to grains, eggs, dairy, and meats, all addressed here.
Following a guide to the various types of salt available around the world, Duguid offers a beguiling selection of flavored salts you can produce at home, including a vanilla salt for tomatoes and seafood and a Georgian Svan salt redolent of dill, coriander, fenugreek, and red pepper.
Among the pickles there are brine-salted walnuts and almonds that are then slow-roasted in an oven. A citrus kosho from Japan ferments chiles, lemon, and pomelo zest for powerful impact. In the meats chapter is basturma, cured beef which is differently flavored according to the country of origin, which can be anywhere from Armenia to Egypt. And we can recommend from personal experience the miso cookies with chocolate chips for anyone who enjoys a treat in which sweetness is not the only flavor.
An appealing combination of practicality and inspiration.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout, many by the author.