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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Please Don't Take Away My Salt...

 copyright 2010, art of living, PrimaMedia, Inc.
Guest Blogger: Emily Brauchle

Since the recession, Americans have been forced to give up small luxuries in order to sustain themselves and their budgets. Small luxuries may be cutting down on the grocery list, limiting vacation time, or conserving energy to shrink the electricity bill. There are plenty of comforts Americans have slowly begun to live without, but the fine treat of salt is something Americans could not go without. Tuscans, however, are a different story.

In Tuscany, Roman soldiers were paid in salt for its high value and cost. Salt was extremely expensive in that era due to the high tax placed on it. Salt, or sale in Italian, is where the English language gets the word salary and the expression ‘worth your salt’. With the tax on salt, Tuscans learned to live without the delicacy and adjusted their recipes and cuisine, most significantly their bread making.

At present, Tuscan bread is still, as it has been forever, perceived as simple and satisfying. Now it is also known to be salt-free, as the change in tradition carried over from century to century unto the present day. Nowadays, Italians claim that they prefer their salt-free carbs, and wouldn’t have it any other way, as it acts as a host to its accompanying food and it’s spices.

Bread is served, not as a main dish or entrée, but as a side accompanying. The unadorned bread accentuates the flavor of the food it is served next to, and does not counterbalance any flavor or taste of the important part of the dish. Tuscans have mastered the balance between too little and too much, making absolutely sure the consumer is never smothered, but always satisfied.

Sept 9-12-Hudson Valley WIne Festival, Rhinebeck, NY, Maria Liberati & The Basic Art of Italian Cooking will be onstage doing cooking demos from the newly released  award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:  Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd Edition

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