Once upon a time my grandmother, Mama, had a gnarly and slightly diseased apple tree in her backyard. The apples were puny, un-bearably tart and pitiful to look at. But my best friend Sarah and I had an unspoken pact that if it was edible and growing in our neighborhood, it would be eaten. Always barefoot, we would sneek into our neighbor’s back yards at night to harvest. My slight little pal would crawl up my back and place her grass-stained feet on my shoulders. With a heave I would stand up tall underneath whichever fruit tree we had chosen to subsist off of that evening. Sarah would pluck away and drop bits of sweet heaven into the basket I had created with my t-shirt. Although we were fed proper meals by our families, a part of me still insists that my bosom buddy and I were completely self sufficient.
So when faced with this atrocity of an “inedible” apple, Sarah declared war. With a straight face she asked my grandmother for a salt shaker. Mama obliged and watched as Sarah snatched a piece of the green produce from a limb…with such intense determination for a teensy seven year old. I stayed quiet and watched, for Sarah was a powerful force not to be reckoned with when she was focused on proving a point. She led me to the back steps and I could feel Mama’s eyes watching with curiosity from behind her handmade curtains.
With the professional composure of a born leader, she shook a bit of salt onto the thick, putrid skin. Trying not to look at me for moral support, she took a bite that may have forever altered her taste buds. “Delicious. Scrumptious. Perfect!” she yelled. She repeated this several times, pleased by her success. Barely managing to hide my revulsion, I looked back at Mama proudly grinning from the kitchen window. “Thata girl!” Mama hollered. Unwilling to be showed up, I gave it a try…and immediately spit my bite out onto the lawn. Awful Awful.
Salt on an apple? Sarah’s food preferences were just a bit too mature for me at that time, but now I am able to value strange pairings for what they are. Rebellious. Dill Pickle and Peanut Butter Sandwich? Bingo. Apple juice in chicken soup? Glorious.
A Dark Chocolate Cookie snaking its way around balls of caramel and then generously sprinkled with Coarse Sea Salt? Amen.
So grow up. Show that little rascal kid who’s the real dare devil. And open your eyes to the power of sea salt.
Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod
All pictures were taken by the skeptic of my bazaar fusions, but a lover of these cookies, Evan Lentz.
And Sarah, thanks for always showing me the light. Love you like the sister I never had but always wanted.