9 September 2011

Salt to taste

A phrase you will come across frequently in most recipes. The amount of salt to be added is never specified as it varies from dish to dish or person to person.
I am not really a fan of salt so I never add too much to the dishes I cook. The last time I cooked a pot of chicken curry for my friends, one of them tasted it and promptly proceeded to pour in the contents of half a bottle of soy sauce. Yes, he’s THAT annoying but that’s not my point here. 
Adding salt to a dish is a bit like what Feng Shui practitioners do.
A good cook tastes a dish first before adding the salt. If a dish is already too salty, you wouldn’t add more salt to it. Instead you’d be looking at adding cream or even more water to take off the edge. But if there’s very little taste, you would up the salt content by, oh, I don’t know, pouring in some soy sauce perhaps.
Houses and people are the same. Some houses are stubborn – people living in such houses would find it hard to introduce changes in their life. Other houses are too yang – those living here always complain that life is never still. Something is always happening. While you would try and stir things up in the former, you’d want to create a more settled energy for the latter property.
Some people are hot-tempered. You don’t want them sleeping in a red-coloured room which is going to only add to the fire that is already in their charts. Some are just lazy and it’s important that their houses are not overly damp or dark which will hardly serve to energize them.
Feng Shui, like cooking is an active almost alchemistic (is there such a word?) process. You take what you have and you try and balance it, keeping in mind what you are trying to achieve. Which is why when I read certain books and they say things like to get a husband put a rose quartz crystal near your bed stand as you sleep or to get a windfall, ring a bell three times around your work area, it troubles me.
No one would ever say for the perfect chicken stew, always put in 3 tablespoons of salt because it just doesn’t work that way. You need to taste the dish, understand it and then add just the right amount of salt to taste.

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