Monday, April 6, 2009

Flower of my Heart

This is my fleur de sel. I bought it for $8 at a health food store in Broad Ripple, and for the past few weeks, I have been dousing everything I can think of in the stuff. Roasted potatoes w. roasted brussels sprouts and roasted garlic. Roasted asparagus. Roasted broccoli. Did I mention I have been roasting things? Though it hasn't stopped there: I've slathered pasta, eggs, caramel, quesadillas, and cheese toast.

In fact, I got really hung up on the cheese toast for a while. You take a piece of good thick bread -maybe Scholar's Inn sourdough- then add a few shavings of good local cheese (I'm partial to Hoosier Habanero from the Swiss Connection). You stick the whole thing in the toaster oven until the cheese melts and the edges of the bread are brown and bubbly with cheese. Then you sprinkle the thing with fleur de sel and fall on it like a ravening hyena.

I ate seven hundred thousand cheese toasts before I started paring down. One day it occurred to me: Why bother with toasting? Toasting took time, precious seconds during which I could be stuffing heavily-salted tastiness down my gullet. So I dispensed with heat. Then I dispensed with bread. If I wasn't going to toast it, what was the point? It was really more convenient to salt individual pieces of cheese.

Finally, this weekend, the ultimate question: Why the cheese? Was it ever anything more than a fatty intermediary between me and seductive salty sumptuousness? Why would I take the time to create thinly-sliced barriers to the consummation my love?

I've taken to eating the fleur de sel straight from little white bowls. I feel liberated, flayed, the way our parents must have felt in the '60s when they decoupled sex from marriage. It's a new, strange, perilous world. And it's salty!

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