Salt Works (Laugh at Yourself First)
I can do it without even trying. I just notice everything. The common ground of our identity — tall women of color who frequently recognize our own dweebiness — was one of the things that pulled me so thoroughly into her orbit. When she talks of the constant triangulation of how to make others comfortable, of trying to figure out how to be the person strangers, friends and acquaintances want you to be, it all rings familiar. She credits this talent to a lifetime of code-switching. The pressure to always be on, to always be inviting and accommodating and to never have the space to be cranky without it meaning more than just a bad day, are challenges many women and women of color face, TV show or not.
What does it mean to elevate all that to a public stage? For Samin and her production team, representation is an important part of wielding that power responsibly. The careful selection of guests on the show, mostly women and people running small businesses in their home countries, offer an interesting example of how to focus on representation without any performative fanfare.
What am I gonna do with this platform? Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat — the book and then the show — is not just a celebration of good cooking, but of the people doing the work without all the acclaim.
About Us | Wooster, Ohio | The Salt & Serenity Grotto
Ina Garten, Martha Stewart and Nigella Lawson all preach to the same god of well-ordered domesticity. Host a party in a windmill and build an empire all while maintaining perfectly coiffed waves. She wants you to know that imperfection is part of the process. She wants you to feel at home in the kitchen, and maybe one day excel at being in the kitchen, but she wants you to host as you are, with what you have. She wants you to gather your friends on your couch and serve them on mismatched plates.
You can always try again tomorrow. As we pick at the final greasy bits of our chicken feast, I ask about the other breakout star of the show — her mom. The Repeller Store Is Open! X Icon. Guides are always more than happy to answer questions. The first time he said it, I kind of laughed and then protested adamantly when I realized he was serious. I mean, come on. The Wieliczka salt deposits are 13 million years old. People began harvesting salt from the area as early as years ago by collecting surface brine in clay pots, evaporating the water, and using the salt left behind.
When the surface water ran out, they started digging wells and found rock salt instead of more water. The first mining shaft was dug in the 13 th century, and tourism to the mine started in the 15 th! The early tourists were guests of the king. Mining was dangerous work. The two biggest dangers were cave-ins and methane buildup. This mine never had any cave-ins, and people were sent ahead with torches to burn any methane out of the air.
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The floors were also very slippery, making it easy for people to slip down the stairs especially while carrying heavy rock salt. In total, there are about 2, chambers and over km of tunnels. At its height, there were miners working in the mines and 60 horses! The horses helped to lift cylinders and barrels of rock salt to the surface using a pulley lift system. They were treated very well, but they also spent most, if not all, of their lives underground.
As usual, I did zero research before showing up. Well, first you have to walk down a mine shaft via ish stairs to where the tour starts, 60 meters underground. Then, you go on a trek through tunnels and chambers and down more and more stairs until your head starts to spin. No wonder you have to go through with a guide! Having my own private tour was literally me living the dream. I asked M every question that popped into my head. Throughout the mines, there are floor tiles made of rock salt, and the chambers and tunnels are lined with wooden supports to prevent cave-ins.
I asked M how many trees went into the mines.
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He explained that the wood is strengthened by the salt which makes it a great option for supports. Sometimes, there are salt buildups called cauliflower salt that come from leaks in the mine. M kept telling me to lick one of the walls because they taste like salt, and I refused because that seems like one of those things guides say so they can laugh while you do something ridiculous.
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The verdict? The wall tasted like salt. True or not, I still think the guides must laugh watching people lick the walls. The most epic room along the route is St.
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For her wedding present, she asked her father for salt to take with her to Poland because salt was so valuable it was even called white gold! They went to a salt mine in Hungary, and she threw her engagement ring in. It was carried magically, I suppose through the salt deposits and when she arrived in Poland, she instructed miners to dig. Her ring was in the middle of the first piece of salt found. When he first started telling it, I definitely thought it was a real story until it got magically weird and I was just confused… so maybe I did get it right because my retelling is certainly baffling as well.
There are rock salt sculptures everywhere. It took three self-taught miner-sculptors 70 years to finish. The purer stuff is used when they want it to be more transparent, for example in the light fixtures. The majority of the sculptures are less pure. The tour took about two hours, but it felt like it was over in a flash. M and I parted ways in this incredibly tall chamber 36m tall!
It was sad saying goodbye because we were basically best friends after our time traipsing through an underground wonderland together.
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Though I guess a real friend would know his name. I was on my own to explore the last couple rooms on the route this is when I licked the wall before making my way to the exit. I had to wait for a few more people to accumulate and then I was lifted meters to the surface in a tiny, terrifying elevator with a group of Italians who, based on my limited Italian skills, thought it was similarly terrifying. Back on the surface, it was raining. Of course. The girl working at the desk just about made my day when she told me there was still food left from dinner.
I stuffed my face with a burger and potatoes, took a quick shower, and collapsed into bed. Packing could wait until morning. I just visited the Wieliczka Salt Mines and loved it. I was so impressed with the cathedral and carvings throughout.
Question for the wall-licker: If the drunken German soldiers who drowned there found it hard to submerge, then how did they manage to drown?