The Year in Books: July with Salt by Mark Kurlansky

The Year in Books: July with Salt by Mark Kurlansky

In July, I’m going to finish reading Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. Salt is a cheap flavouring that I’m always telling people to eat less of at work; I never really realized how important it was in the history of the world until I read this book.

Only when I start to consider how many English words start with the prefix ‘sal’ did I realize how salt itself shaped much of our known world. The word ‘salt’ shares the same Latin root word as ‘salacious,’ since a man in love was called ‘salax’ by the Romans. Likewise, the word ‘salad’ meant salted vegetables, and ‘salami’ is derived from the Latin verb to salt. ‘Salary’ also shares the root, since Roman soldiers were paid in salt instead of coins. Romans made a salty sauce, garum, by fermenting fish scraps in salt. After the fall of the Roman empire, this sauce all but vanished from Europe. Ketchup, or catsup, was originally a salted anchovy sauce, similar to Roman garum. It slowly evolved into tomato ketchup, using the name kecap from the Indonesian soy and fish sauce.

The Year in Books: July with Salt by Mark Kurlansky

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Toronto Bike Paths: Martin Goodman Trail

Martin Goodman Trail, Kiku Corner 3

Cycling is one of the few sports that I enjoy. Though Toronto lacks the bicycle culture of the enlightened European cities, Meinhilde and I have found some great urban paths. We are excited to show you some of these trails here on Kiku Corner!

Martin Goodman Trail, Kiku Corner 2

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Arugula Salad with Orange and Hearts of Palm

Arugula Salad with Orange and Hearts of Palm, Kiku Corner

This arugula salad is my new favourite dish for summer. It has all the essentials of a great salad: colour (just look at how vibrant it is), crunch from the celery, sweetness from the orange, and something unexpected in the form of hearts of palm. You can use your favourite dressing, but I tried summery garlic dressing and it was the perfect complement for an arugula salad.

The first time I ever heard of hearts of palm was on a beach in Montevideo, Uruguay with Donatello. We were on a short break from our cruise ship job and after a beautiful bicycle ride, we were famished. Donatello found a cute little cafe and ordered us hearts of palm sandwiches. Those tender white tubes were so exotic to me at the time. I was hooked.

I have only found canned hearts of palm back in North America, but they work fine. Rinse them a few times before using them in this arugula salad.

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Cthulhu Bumbleberry Pie

Cthulhu Bumbleberry Pie

Ontario strawberries are now in season, and since Ryan has been wanting to make his own pie for quite a while now, he made this Cthulhu bumbleberry pie over the weekend. Somehow he had found the Cthulhu Pie by Sandy Yoo, and of course he had to recreate it. The pie crust was a pâte sucrée, which is similar to pâte brisée but sweetened with sugar and enriched with egg yolks. We had strawberries, blueberries, and rhubarb available, so that’s what we threw into the pie. You can just as easily switch in a cup of raspberries for a cup of the other berries.

The pie was obviously a hit and would have been perfect with some vanilla ice cream! The crust was tender and flavourful, since we used butter; the filling had a nice mix of berry flavours while the rhubarb added its usual tang.

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Happy Hour: Tequila Lime Gingerale

Tequila Lime Gingerale

Our aunt made these delicious tequila lime gingerale cocktails for us when we visited her on Toronto Island for the yacht club sail past. She had just returned from Mexico with a bag of juicy Mexican limes, and we used up her whole stash when mixing up these drinks for whoever was passing by.

I’m not really a fan of carbonated drinks, but this was too delicious to pass up! Our aunt had Jose Cuervo but we used Sauza Gold Tequila in these tequila lime gingerales, and the combination of flavours – spicy, sweet, citrusy, and sour, was a match made in heaven. She also insisted on using a good brand of gingerale, like Grace, which has a more pronounced and spicy ginger flavour than other gingerales I’ve tried.

Tequila lime gingerale is a perfect drink for sipping on the patio during the summer months, and was ideal for sail past.

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