Salt is in the zeitgeist. Although the stuff has been around literally forever (read this book
on its fascinating history), it's being particularly fetishized at this moment. No fewer than 3 people gave me salt this holiday season, bringing my collection to 18 different types! A couple of the gifts came from the same store: The Meadow
, on Hudson Street in New York City. Jennifer Turner Bitterman and her husband "selmelier" Mark Bitterman founded this boutique in Portland in 2006. It specializes in salt, chocolate, flowers and wine (though on a recent visit I noticed only bitters; more on those later). The assortment of salts is truly mind-blowing. From Bengal Blue to Smoked Red Alder, there are more than 100 types, sourced from all over the world. The most instantly striking thing in the store are blocks and slabs of pink Himalayan salt, big translucent pieces for cooking and serving food. You can arrange sashimi on a chilled brick of the stuff and watch the edges of the fish turn pale and firm as it actually cures right there. Or heat a block on the stove or the barbeque and grill thin slices of flank steak for a unique and delicately salty flavor. I can't wait to try this!