Monday, August 8, 2011

Take it with a pinch of salt

THE owner of the mamak restaurant I go to for my weekly roti Arab has given up trying to persuade me to buy salt - Pakistan-mined mountain salt.

I told him I only used sea salt and the last 500g of coarse sea salt I bought was five years ago. We still have some left.

The sea salt I bought came from France. However, I no longer see the brand on the shelves these days.

Either the sea salt is no longer produced or the importer must have gone out of business, especially with people taking less salt and sugar these days.

Never mind what its manufacturer said it could do.

During my childhood in Kuala Terengganu, when the river was clean and the sea green, living at the estuary of Sungai Terengganu allowed my grandmother to make our own salt. Clean seawater was collected when tide came in and filtered using a strainer made of flour-sack cloth.

The brine was then boiled in a wok under low fire and continuously stirred.

When the water had evaporated, we got clumpy white salt.

However, not many people made their own sea salt because the wok would rust or crack if used too often for that purpose.

Besides, white table salt was sold at sundry stores for 10 sen per kati (600g) right up to the late 1970s.

Those days, organic and wholesome goodness had not been heard of yet.

A couple of years ago, I remember, rock salt lamps were in vogue.

Some people lighten up their interior decor with them.

Others used the stone-like lamps at the workplace to send a positive aura through the work floor.

The only trouble most salt-lamp users faced was to clean up the grime under the lamps each morning after they have been switched off for the night.

The mess from condensation-induced salt grime soon put an end to the enthusiasm of one user I know.

These days, mountain salt are making their rounds. I see them in pharmacies, sundry shops, mamak restaurants and even at the pasar malam.

They don't cost much -- about RM8 a packet for table mountain salt and RM10 for bathing salts.

The rose-coloured mountain salt come glowing with promises of putting you in the pink of health, or so one promoter tells me.

Soaking yourself in a mountain salt bath daily will keep wrinkles away.

A foot bath will help drain the negative vibes you picked up at work.

I don't know if it is true but believers say adding mountain salt to your diet will do wonders for your health because it contains minerals not found in sea salt.

I don't think I will switch to mountain salt any time soon.

I know I won't be adding more to my food or soaking gleefully in mountain salt baths.

I know that if the salt in the food doesn't get your blood pressure up, the corroding drain pipes will one day.

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