Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Senza Sale" by Barbara Quinn

The Italian’s have a phrase “senza sale” that they use for many things. It means without salt, and it applies to far more than food. My father would don a dismissive look, wave his hand, and utter “senza sale”. To be without salt was unthinkable, a signifier of a life wasted, of a soul-less person lacking the ability to take a stand or protect loved ones. Like pasta that has been cooked in salt-less water, a person who brings nothing positive to the table of life is “senza sale”.

Without salt, pasta is an abomination of blandness. Without salty people, life would be a drag. You can’t correct the situation by adding salt to your pasta after you boil it. You have to take the time to add the salt at the right time. People have to become properly seasoned too, to become desirable salty souls. (Those who need a salt-free diet, will have to rely on salt substitutes or other spices!)

Certainly there can be too much salt. No one wants a meal that tastes like the Great Salt Lake. You’ll be up all night trying to crave your thirst if you have too much salt. But that perfect balance of salt can bring out the flavor of food and enhance the meal. You can also add a few grains of salt to a glass of wine that you think is too flat. Try it sometime and you’ll be amazed at how that little bit of salt creates a tasty glassful. We can learn much from this little grainy chemical compound.

Last spring I toured a sea salt facility in, Trapani, Sicily. What a treat that was to see the way the salt is harvested with windmills and evaporation. I brought some home and have been enjoying the mild taste reminiscent of the sea. I’ve acquired a whole range of salts: Morton’s Iodized, David’s Kosher, Italian coarse Sea Salt, French Fleur de Sel, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.

I’m grateful for salt, grateful for the salts of the earth that show us the way. May you literally and figuratively never be “senza sale”!


Angie Ledbetter said...

Loved this post, Barb! May we never be senza sale or without the spices of/in life which truly make it wonderful.

Linda said...

This reminded me to appreciate those who are more or less salty than I am!

Solomon said...

That's an interesting take on something so commonplace as salt. :)

Anonymous said...

Considering the low salt diet that is supposed to be done at our house, we will shoot for salt of the earth. Pretty good company

Barbara Quinn said...

Angie, yes, spicin' it up is a good thing!

Linda, yes, it's all about balance, isn't it?

Solomon, thanks for dropping by!

Oren, from your past comments I'd say you're doing well along that salt of the earth way.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Oh salt! I don't like things too satly, but a bit of salt on certain things does bring out the flavor - like when preparing sweet things for instance.

I've never heard of salt in wine - huhn! Always learn something.

We have sea salt and gray seat salt - very nice.

Patresa Hartman said...

What a cool phrase! i want to start using it. can a german-english girl say senza sale? or is that just silly?

Barbara Quinn said...

Kat, Yes, try the wine thing. It's a fun thing. And I don't like anything too salty either.

Patresa, sprinkle that senza sale in your conversations! Confuse them and have fun. LOL

Listen to our Podcasts