Last month, a woman with whom I worked moved on to a new job in another state. A great opportunity for her, but I was sad - it's ironic that you often find someone you really like just before you're bound for separation. Laura fell into that category. In the three weeks between when she announced her departure and when she actually left, we bonded over smoked salmon and avocado breakfasts, missing our fathers, and the surprising turns of the unplanned career path.
At one point, Laura mentioned that she'd discovered an outrageously good seasoned salt mixture when she lived in Seattle. Rosemary, she said dreamily, plus other spices and maybe a little lemon peel. She'd only ever found it at the Whole Foods at 65th and Roosevelt, and she promised to bring some for me the next time her travels made it possible. We waved goodbye on her last day, and that was that.
And then, last week, a plastic tub appeared on my desk, spirited to Santa Monica by another coworker who'd seen Laura as she passed through on her way to her new life. I was touched she'd gone out of her way to make that happen. And hopeful, taking it as a sign that out of sight might not necessarily mean out of mind, despite the youth of our friendship.
Details: The label says "Salt Tuscan, Coastal Goods." Ingredients: Mediterranean sea salt and herbs, spices, garlic, tomato, lemon peel, soy oil and rosemary oil. Laura thinks the rosemary oil is the key to the intensity of the flavor and aroma of the mixture. She wanted to make her own version, but she found rosemary oil hard to come by, and without it the salt mixture never carried the same punch. Laura assures me it's good on popcorn, mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, lamb, pork, chicken noodle soup and couscous. Me, I can't even think about cooking with it yet. I just keep smelling it.