The first chapter of Charcuterie begins with one of the most essential pieces to human survival.  Salt single handedly allowed man to travel far distances thusly conquering new lands and sewing the seeds of the culture while absorbing the cultures of others.  Ruhlman describes salt as “…one of those items in everyone’s daily life, is completely quiet, resting inside a shaker on the kitchen counter or box in the cupboard, never calling attention to itself, plain, prosaic, no dramatics, humble-a rock, after all.”  Salt allows man to preserve food without risk of spoilage in absence of refrigeration.  The Egyptians appear to be the first people to preserve food with salt on a large scale using it for their own food in addition to being a valuable item for trade.   Later on the Vikings learned the art of preserving cod which sustained their long journeys.  In essence the art of salting and preserving gave way to the age of explorations. 

Speaking of explorations it is time we begin ours with none other than the grand daddy of all pig parts, the one and only bacon!  I am going to travel to the Pork Shop in Queen Creek on Thursday to purchase a few pork bellies to create a sweet bacon (think maple syrup and brown sugar) and savory bacon (think garlic, bay leaf and black peppercorns).  If we have enough scaps after trimming the bellies we will make some salt pork as well (key ingredient to true New England Clam Chowder and Boston Baked Beans).  Let the party begin!

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