Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Salt In The City

The hardest thing to do in this life is to tell the truth. We frequently don't like what the truth tells us so we ignore it or explain it away. It takes a strong person to accept facts that give him or her pain and fear. But the alternative is maintaining a constant, exhausting vigilance for anything that pierces the bubble of self-delusion. Accepting the truth means you can let down the facade, but it also means letting in the pain, and many, many people are utterly unwilling to make that choice.

A Side Note About Exotic Salt
When I said I "cook with" Maldon sea salt, I did not mean that I toss it in the water with my pasta, or use it to brine my turkey. Sea salt is a finisher--you put a little of it in when you're done cooking and ready to serve, or toss it in cold dishes. If your recipe calls for salt at the start of the process--though with a few exceptions, I'm agin' it--use kosher or ordinary table salt. A box of sea salt should last you at least six months, unless you're serving a crowd every night. Some of my correspondents were a tad confused on this, so I thought it was worth clarifying before some unhappy soul tossed three tablespoons of fleur de sel into their pasta water, and came looking for my head.

If Megan McArdle didn't have to impress the world with her exclusive tastes, she wouldn't have to write such a silly post. She could do what everyone else does--use ordinary kosher salt, like Alton Brown tells them to, and save the exotic salts for table use. But no, she must use Maldon for cooking and an even more exclusive salt for the table, and then lie* and say that she meant Maldon for table, not cooking. She's like Carrie Bradshaw in a tutu, aping the haute couture set but not part of it, and looking ridiculous in the process. It is unnecessary, futile and an enormous waste of human energy.

*I must leave open the possibility that she did not mean "for most cooking" when she said it, but if she is just making everything up as she goes along, that is useful to know as well.


Downpuppy said...

As often as she's pulled the "That's not what I meant" routine, nobody at the Atlantic has told her to write better.

As they say in the splinterverse:
Sad. Grim. Pathetic.

Ken Houghton said...

It would be sadder if she really does use salt for most cooking--but that would be for what it says about her and P. Suderman.

One of the things you often hear is that older people tend to have blood pressure problems. One thing you learn in Health Economics is that one of the causes of that is that, as you reach AARP-eligible age, your taste buds often fade.

And older people try to compensate for the remembered flavor of foods by putting salt on the food. Which affects blood pressure.

So if the (relatively) young McSuders are already having to compensate for the lost flavor of their youth, it does not bode well for their future life.

Downpuppy said...

If they actually cook & eat more than 2 meals a week from scratch*, I'd be stunned.

*Including grilled cheese sandwiches

Clever Pseudonym said...

Especially since Megan's a lifelong Manhattanite, many of whom have kitchens that don't even rival the size of bathroom stalls and eat out a lot because of it.

Not only has nobody at the Atlantic told her to write better, they also haven't told her not to write on things she knows nothing about without doing a some research first. They haven't told her to edit better for spelling, typos, and formatting. They haven't told her to make sure she links to articles she's referencing. They haven't told her to disclose the cut she makes if people follow her Amazon links. They haven't told her to not prop up her husband-to-be's work and his organized affiliations.

And that's not even touching on the subject of her vile, ill-thought out opinions.

bulbul said...

Sea salt is a finisher
Um... What? Sea salt is salt. You use it the way you would use salt. I use sea salt instead of rock salt (what you folks call kosher salt or table salt) for everything that requires salt.
Now I could assume what she meant by sea salt is "coarsely ground sea salt" or "flake sea salt" as opposed to your average finely ground salt, but that would mean she's stupid and can't tell the difference between origin and form. And she can't possibly be that...
Oh nevermind.

Clever Pseudonym said...

Isn't all salt technically "sea salt"? Even stuff that's mined inland are the remnant deposits in a place that once had a sea, if I'm not mistaken (and I promise if somebody points out that I am, I will not dismiss them by saying they misunderstood my point or that I was speaking hypothetically and not literally).

And Susan - I just noticed the title of this post. Awesome.

bulbul said...


as Cathy pointed out in the previous salt thread, yes, all salt is sea salt. Rock salt mines are actually sedimentary whatchamacallit deposits of evaporite minerals.

Malaclypse said...

So, when the poor eat food that is unhealthy, that is a reason why they don't deserve health insurance. When Megan oversalts everything, that is different because shut up, that's why.

Got it.

M. Bouffant said...

Not that I know anything about cooking, but I've heard that if it's seasoned/cooked correcctly, you don't need any table salt on it.

Sauce as you will, but trust the chef on the salt, in other words.

Susan of Texas said...

Yes, I can't imagine going to a top New York restaurant and heaping salt on the dishes.

Actually, I can't imagine giving anyone salt for a christmas present in the first place.