Thursday, October 1, 2009

shaky city

Two things:

First, this post features stuff I got for free.  That'll happen, you know, people send stuff to bloggers, bloggers review it.  I'll always point out when that's the case, and I won't ever rave about something just because I got it for free.  

So this time, what I've got is a sampler of the many sea salts sold by online fine foods vendor Marx Foods, and even if I didn't dig the salt, I'd've mentioned them in an eventual post on "Bill, where do you get the unusual ingredients you sometimes mention, and why aren't they in my supermarket," aka the online mail order post.  Marx Foods isn't cheap, but if you want turtle meat, they're the place to go; and they're the only place I know of with such an extensive selection of wild produce (not just ramps and fiddleheads, but miner's lettuce and wood violets).

I can't review a dozen salts at once.  So as I use them, I will point them out.  For instance:

Potatoes, cracklins

Potatoes and pork cracklins, with green chile sea salt and fine smoked sea salt.

The number one change most home cooks can make that will make their food taste more like it does in the restaurant?  Use more salt.  I don't know if it's health concerns driving people to undersalt their food, or if it's always been this way -- I'm just saying, half the time you ask yourself "why does their version of this taste so much better than mine, I know I'm doing everything right," it's because they used more salt than you did.

Potatoes, pork, and eggs are the foods that I think benefit the most from salt -- in fact, shit, I need to go start the eggs I was planning to have later, they take a long time.  Hang tight.

Okay, so anyway.  The green chile salt is great.  There's a pronounced green chile flavor, distinguishable as such, not just generic heat.  This would be nice on a hot dog, definitely on a hamburger.

The smoked sea salt has less pronounced smokiness.  I can't decide how to feel about that.  It's probably good, in that it keeps the smoke flavor from being overpowering, but it's also easy to lose it completely.  One way to use it that would keep the smoke flavor from being lost would be to use it as a rimming salt, so that you're getting a hit of the salt before you get anything that's going to overpower it.

The second thing: sometimes when I take a photo of some food, especially if I take a second one because I see on the camera screen that the first one isn't in focus, I feel a twinge of guilt.  I don't like photograph-centric food blogs, or blogs that toss a photo of some meal up onto the internet without any discussion of it, any information.  It's pointless.  It benefits no one and only creates noise.  I think the prevalence of cheap reliable digital photography has made the blogosphere significantly worse.  Everyone's posing their sandwiches, snapping pretty pictures of their rack of lamb ... but who gives a shit?  It doesn't make them taste any better.  It's just mindless food porn, as bad as the nonsense on the Food Network.  Food doesn't need or benefit from Myspace angles.  Learn how to cook, not how to pose.

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