The Next Gourmet Item: Salt

DEMYSTIFIER SALT

In the never-ending search for foods to be snobby about, gourmets have finally got to salt. Like wine and chocolate, salt is fetishized by region, and the snootier salts sell for as much as $25 a pound. There's gray salt, red salt, French salt, Spanish salt, Italian salt, Portuguese salt, salt with algae, salt mixed with herbs, even smoked salt. Such a wide variety was the norm up until the 20th century, when Morton's used an evaporator to make salt white, fine and uniform, says Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt: A World History. "It's an irony of history," he says. "What...

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