Sunday, September 14, 2008


Recently while making bread (using Daniel Leader’s excellent book Bread Alone), I made an error which caused me to reflect on the nature of Salt. The error was a simple error. I had left it out of the recipe. But, the error illuminated some truths for me which I had allowed myself to forget.

Salt is one of the most common compounds found on earth. It is the formation of two elements which are very rare on Earth by themselves (Sodium and Chlorine). The nature of Salt is such that it changes everything it encounters in some fashion. When mixed with water, salt raises the boiling point and lowers the freezing point. It alters the density. It decreases buoyancy. Salt fundamentally alters the nature of water when they are mixed.

Salt is essential in cooking. Prepared food, properly seasoned with salt, has wonderful flavors. Salt brings out the very essence of foods and brightens the flavors to our senses. Used properly, you do not notice the salt at all. However, too much salt can ruin a meal very quickly, as can the absence of salt-which renders food bland, lifeless, and dull.

In the Book of Matthew (Mat 5:13), we are called as salt of the Earth. We are also warned against losing our saltiness lest we should be trampled by the World. An interesting metaphor if you think about it. If you understand the nature of salt, we are being called to be seasoning to the world, to bring flavor to it, to fundamentally change its very nature. If we are Salt, then too much “us”, too much personality or Ego will ruin that which we are trying to improve. Not enough of “us” and we lose our saltiness, our authenticity, our ability to season and alter the world around us and the world will change us instead.

A little salt is a very good thing. Be Salt. Season the world around you.



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