Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Saga of Salted Cod

It's been weeks now since the first time I saw it in Whole Foods Market. Salted Cod.

I'm not sure exactly what fascinates me so much about it. I do love fish, but that love is counterbalanced by the fact that I've never been a big fan of salt. I don't know... it's weird stuff, that salt cod. It's just out in an open basket, no packaging at all. It's hard as a rock and stiff as a board. It looks just awful. But yet, I can't get it off of my mind.

So last Friday in my regular weekly Weight Maintenance Group's between-meeting's check in with Lucy, I asked her about it. What do you do with it? How do you prepare it? And to my surprise, she had no answer. The only time she's never had an answer before this was when there wasn't even a question. She just had never sampled a pluot. The class quickly put that right by bringing her one. So I thought there wasn't a thing that she didn't know about food. I was wrong. She suggested that I go to the internet for recipes.

The same day that I got her response, I also received my December issue of "O" Magazine. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it. Norman Kolpas - my teacher at the UCLA Extension Writing Class that I took a while back - said that it was the Rolls Royce of magazines, so I subscribed to it. It seems to me, though, that the writers (indeed the general tone of the magazine) is self-indulgent and a little bit - gasp! - holier than thou. At least in my opinion. But it still has enough interesting information within to keep me occupied and although it doesn't make as good a coffee table publication as, say, Smithsonian, I'm not embarassed to let it be seen.
But back to topic. I received my"O". I did as I always do... go right to the food section first. And what do I find there but a recipe for salted cod! Whipped Salt Cod with Cavier on Steamed Potatoes. Page 311. "It's a message." I thought. "Buy!" So I did. I stopped by Whole Foods right before my Weight Maintenance Group and bought a filet.

Then I went to class. And what should today's lecture be about? The evils of salt! Well, it's not exactly evil according to Lucy. But to stay healthy and to keep your blood pressure normalized, for every mg of salt you consume, you should take in a mg of potassium. We discussed various foods that contain potassium. Surprisingly, bananas are not the greatest source for it which is a good thing because I hate bananas! The reason everyone thinks that they are is because of a good advertising campaign. One of the very best sources of potassium apparently is Butternut Squash. ( Yes, Claudia, I knew you'd like that. That's why I mentioned it!) One cup of baked Butternut Squash contains over 1100 mgs of potassium for a very low caloric cost.

Lucy went around the room and had everyone commit to buying something new off of the list. The truth is that I already buy pretty much everything that was there (with the exception of bananas) and stated so. But I assured her and the class that it was ok. I was balancing my intake of potassium by trying salt cod this week.
I would have ended the story here, but there is a quick post script. When I got back to my car, I immediately noticed a very pungent smell. Kind of like mildew. Kind of like the smell of salt cod left to warm in the sun. I'm not sure exactly what - if anything - I'm going to do about it. I like the stinky french cheeses, and I'm still curious about salt cod. I'll probably still give it a whirl, but on a day when I know nobody will have to smell me after I eat it.

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