The Moveable Feast Food Blog

The Moveable Feast is a Personal Chef Service that serves the Hampton Roads area of Southern Virginia. This blog is an extension of my web site and will go into more details about food and any food service industries. Any pictures and or recipes that are published here are all the property of The Moveable Feast unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My newest favorite kitchen tool is...
A ball peen hammer. I kid you not. It is such a useful tool, that I am seriously considering having it the kitchen gadget drawer.

The chain grocery store where I work did some shuffling of products a few months ago and it was shuffled practically in front of my face. I am addicted to this stuff and have loved it since I was introduced to it. It comes in many shapes, forms, colors and countries. I have eaten the "garden" variety for years. As a child I was unaware there were other choices. Having gone to culinary school, I found out there were other kinds that I could love and have been ever since.

What is this mysterious stuff that I am so enthralled with? Well it's a common thing that causes many heated discussion and is blamed for many a health problem. People try to eliminate from their diets, while I am sampling new versions. Are you curious enough now? It comes in black, pink, white, brown and probably more I have not yet discovered. Peppercorns you say? NOPE.
Drum roll please.....

Yes, it is the dreaded S word...SALT.

I grew up with a father who loved it dearly and I can't remember a meal that he didn't pour some on everything at the dinner table. He was a heavy smoker so I am guessing that the longer he smoked the more dead his taste buds were. So he has to up his daily dosage of it to taste anything. I have vivid memories of a small pile of salt on a plate with a freshly washed green onion on the side. Get ready for dad would lick the end of the green onion and dip the freshly wetted end into the salt pile and eat the onion. Being the good daughter I was, I copied that behavior. To this day every now and then, I dip for the memory of my father. I will say that he died of Leukemia and not high blood pressure.

After going to culinary school, I discovered there were other salts out there that I had not conquered with my little green onion trick. I graduated to this stuff...

I really thought I had found salt Nirvana when someone introduced me to this stuff. The ritual of sprinkling it over my food, gave me this weird chefness satisfaction that I did not understand. I loved it so much that I bought myself a "salt pig" and started sprinkling my favorite kosher salt from that at home. If that wasn't bad enough, I got others hooked on my addiction. Others that live with me have now developed the careful sprinkling habit over their food too.

As if that wasn't bad enough....I did a vertical tasting at a chef's conference with my friend Kathy. She showed me new treasures I had never seen and I thought I had died and gone to salted heaven. Who knew there were so many? Then I bought other salts to add to my collection. This was next... My habit is getting out of control. Everyone warns me this is a habit I must give up. But why? I have great blood pressure and until they tell me to stop, I must keep going.

So now my interest is totally peaked and I am mad about this stuff. So mad that I read this book. Now how nuts do you have to be to read this; about as nuts as the rest of us that put this on the New York Times Best Seller List. Now how's that? Okay, I don't have every salt that I should but I am still working on my collection. Fleur De Sel is not in my arsenal of yet, but it's on the short list.

Back to the ball peen hammer. This is what I have been driven to in my pursuit for the most wonderful seasoning in the world. The store moved all the Pink Moroccan salt right in front of where I work. It's like a chocolate addict watching a bar of their favorite chocolate sit on a shelf in front of them all day long without getting to smell it, or touch it, and you can forget getting a bite of it. So being the addict I am, I broke down and bought the little salt mill filled with the smallish grains of pink Moroccan salt. I took it home and used it on my food as I was smitten. It was putting talcum powder on your food. It was so light and salty. I used less of it because it was very salty. Those little holders only hold so much. So I bought the larger box that had hunks. And I mean hunks. You should have seen me trying to make those hunks smaller; thus the ball peen hammer.

I know how silly I must have looked with a plastic zip bag on the kitchen floor with three or four hunks of pink salt and beating the day lights out of them. I had to have them smaller so they would fit into that new salt grinder. I have now officallly lost my mind. Okay, so you see how huge those hunks are? The ones on the front of the plate are the ones I beat to a pulp to get them into that grinder in the back. It worked and I am back in business. So now I am trying to decide if the ball peen stays in the kitchen drawer for more salt emergencies or not. See what foodies do. Desperate times call for desperate measures!

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At 11:17 PM, Blogger Ed Tep said...

A ball peen hammer?? Yikes, that is some heavy duty stuff!

At 6:47 AM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

I wouldn't have had to smash the chunks if I wasn't so cheap to buy the flaked stuff for the grinder. But I already bought the hunks and I was not going to waste perfectly wonderful pink salt. So I beat it into submission! I won!

At 12:27 AM, Blogger Tina T-P said...

Hmmm - do you suppose you could interest Pampered Chef in that new tool? How about Williams & Sonoma - after all, it is multi-use. Ha, Ha -

Ok, so you've inspired me - there is a spice shop near here that sells all kinds of salt as well - I've been pretty much of a stick in the mud about using anything but the good old "blue lable" stuff - I shall try something new!

At 2:57 PM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

Tina-I am a salt nut from way back and now I can't eat the stuff in the round blue box. I actually won't even salt my food in public anymore because I really don't like that stuff. I am going to be one of those old ladies that whips out her salt shaker in the restaurant and dares anyone to touch my stuff! Just try the kosher stuff first and see how that goes. Most stop there but if you really want to try more, then try salt from other countries. It's just fun to try new things.

I doubt that a Ball Peen Hammer will be the next new revamped kitchen tool that rocks the market, but then one never knows.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

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At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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