The Community of Salt
In an intent to grasp the nature of gathering, this piece is a work in progress. It is still happening, I mean, it is happening right now meanwhile I am writing, more like gathering, the images, the words, the sounds, and also the smells and textures of this visual story.
This visual story is not the product, it is just a pause [a draft] in the path to a physical gathering…
All started (it did start earlier as a thought, but it was on this date the first time the thought took form) on the 20th of November 2020 in the shape of a wondering. I’m not surprised since all gatherings I believe come from wonder.
Today I was wondering how can I make my own salt.
With this question… another came in, brought to this still embryonic table by Amanda…
Sounds fun. Are you going to?
With a link to a winery page -a sign? I thought- where I learnt how distant gatherings along different places in the world were joining us… by the hand of Executive Chef Todd Knoll who had incorporated his love of cooking into family vacations by making salt from the coastal waters of their favourite destinations. Definitely a sing!!!
Everything, right at that moment, made total sense. I accepted Amanda’s invitation, because it was an invitation no doubt, with all my heart… That simple was the commencement of this gathering, that profound and magic it was.
Then many joined the conversation Matthew, Jennifer, Helena, Beverly, Anya, Ajike, Jayashree… more will follow I’m sure of it.
Ancient food of journeys; Mountains covered by oceans;
a salt museum in Germany; Connections between humankind and these magic crystals;
We even went to our origins with Matthew’s beautiful reflections:
our very blood is a vestige of the dynamic that arose between single celled organisms and the seas in which they lived; Once we went on land we conserved the sea water within our bodies, separated as we were from its source, and it became precious to us – the sea still pumping in our veins, the rhythm of our hearts an echo of the pounding of waves on the shore; …
…and much more:
All my cravings revolve around salt, curing, fermentation, pickling, right texture, umami… the list goes on.
A sense of place came to the table -now from embryo to shaping into the different parts- when Amanda asked…
Up north to which coastline?! That sounds like a fun adventure!
With place entered the searches and the connections…
I’ve never been but have long felt drawn to Scotland as a place of origin. I’ll be curious to know how your North Sea salt turns out! You have me wondering where the safest source of sea salt might be within reach of my current location… Mid-Atlantic U.S. doesn’t seem like it would bode well for clean water offshore, but I might have to start looking into that.
With the connections… A weird idea from our very friend Imagination:
Imagine if we began a small scale artisanal salt-trade amongst ourselves…
Some more interesting people were named, also belonging to place. Say hello to Iain McGilchrist, the resident of the Isle of Skye I would most like to meet.
[We may invite him to the final gathering when it takes place]
Drinks connected to places, connected to salt, connected to people….
I have not had much Sherry and, while I have heard of Manzanilla Sherry I have not tried it. Just this year I was introduced to Scotch matured in Sherry casks; as much as I love the peaty Isle of Islay Scotches, I now also love Highland Scotch matured in Sherry casks just as much, though they are entirely different in character!
And more places, history and connections came to the conversations
In other salt news, I learned there is a salt works in West Virginia 1, and a few areas there and in Southwestern Virginia where salt comes up in brine springs. It turns out the tradition of making salt inland in this part of the continent goes back a long, long time.
Beverly explained what her experience was with local salt makers….
Could we connect all those places within a map [this idea made itself welcomed as part of the gathering too]
And right there… the places, the spaces, the connections, the talks became more real… The invitation spread.
So fascinating! Are you going to make salt Mattthew?! @atoomre?! @HelenaRoth?!
@Inma, now I want to go to the sea and gather water and make salt too!!!
Back and forth we moved… the conversations grew. The logistics began with
Oh good because then we could have a salt swap!!!
One step to another and soon, like the most natural appearance, pilgrimages made it in…
….between El Camino de Santiago, tracing Don Quixote’s and Sancho Panza’s (and Cervante’s) footsteps, and now Sanlúcar de Barrameda…
We are almost there!!!! Salt, maps, talks, walks…
Amanda was the bravest to said it out loud… the words scape from her finger tips…
A meal. Well a feast truly. Replete with celebration and gathering and tables.
Where we gather and feast. The improbable made manifest. The possible baked into a meal that feeds us.
The story of this. A celebration. A feast. A gathering. The seed nourished in a time of isolation and restriction.
Yet how we dared. To hope.
How we write story. How we tell story.
To each other.
Such a beautiful dream… happening in front of us. We all agreed. The Community of salt was born.
Three of us, Amanda, Inma and Jayashree have made salt…. Many others are joining in, they will bring other viands, homemade bread and drawings, doodles and inspiring refections, poetry, playfulness, laughter…. The table is getting bigger naturally growing, expanding… And it really looks as Amanda says…
From here, where we are now, to the real gathering there is only a few steps.
Get your suitcases ready, just in case 😉
With no specific order I thank everyone who made this conversation a beginning…
And all of you!!!!
And me 🙂