Salt: How you doin’ Pepper; made anybody sneeze recently?
Pepper: I’m OK, but have YOU raised any blood pressures lately?
Salt: Hey, that’s a low blow and true only occasionally.
Pepper: What have you been doin’ during this pandemic?
Salt: I went on Ancestry.com and found out a lot that I never knew before — stuff that, sorry to say, makes me much more valuable than you. For instance, my ancestors have been around even before the birth of Christ! My spice was first discovered in China in 450 B.C. And because my spice can draw water out of meat and fish, my ancestors have long been used to preserve meat and fish, providing valuable nutrition during long cold winters years ago….that was before refrigerators and freezers, of course. Even today, I am a respected superstition, in that when I spill, folks pour a bit of me over their shoulder to send away evil spirits!.
Pepper: You are not the only one to research their past. My ancestors have a long history, too, some 2000 years before Christ in fact. My folks originally came from India and long ago they were so valuable that I have even been used to pay a ransom. Early Greeks and Romans also thought pepper was good for reducing phlegm and increasing semen, though I think Dr. Fauci wouldn’t go for that now. The British even once established a Guild of Pepperers to maintain standards for the purity of folks like me.
Salt: My folks were once so valuable that French kings cornered me as a monopoly allowing only their favored friends to use salt. In fact, salt became so rare, some said it was a contributing factor to the French revolution! The British used salt taxes to support their monarchs and over the centuries, thousands of folks have been imprisoned for smuggling salt! I am and have always been spectacularly important.
Pepper: Ever heard of “peppercorn rent”? My ancestors have been used as money. That was way back when peppercorns were more valuable than coins.
Salt: The Greeks and Roman often paid for their slaves with salt and thence the expression that someone is “not worth his salt”
Pepper: But slavery is bad, and who cares what happened thousands of years ago. Let’s talk today! I am the sophisticated flavor. Waiters and waitresses with a pepper grinder ask, “Sir (or Madam) may I add a little ground pepper to your salad?” I am a delicacy!
Salt: I can be delicate, too. I just saw a fancy sea salt for sale on QVC. In fact, I can be so delicate, I can disappear particularly if I’m used on a light colored food. Admittedly, there is a down side to my color. If a salt shaker is clogged, the person using the shaker might never know no salt is coming out. Then tasting the food, the human gets frustrated and vigorously shakes the salt shaker and lots of salt comes spilling out. Then we are not so delicate.
Pepper: Well, I have my own problems. Sometimes peppercorns are in a pepper grinder and the grinder gets stuck. But unlike the salt problem, a person can’t open the grinder and get pepper. They can only get uncut peppercorns which don’t help anybody.
Salt: That’s a problem to be sure. I envy you one thing, though, the slogan, “black is beautiful”. That’s very positive. The only positive slogans about my color, “white” are on laundry detergent boxes.
Pepper: I bet you haven’t had a soft drink or an animal named after you? I have. The drink Dr. Pepper, is very popular! A neighbor’s dog is named after me as well. I like hearing the neighbors calling, “Here, Pepper” or saying “Good boy, Pepper!”
Salt: You are right about that. I never heard of any animal at all named “salt” though I am occasionally used as an adjective as in the phrase “salty dog”. I have other attributes, though. I can be flavored. You’ve heard of garlic salt and onion salt and celery salt? Almost anything that can be dried can be infused into me. I can also be very Kosher, and I bet I’m used in more recipes than you are. I’m that versatile!
Pepper: I come in flavors too, like cayenne pepper. My hot pepper can even make a person’s eyes water!
Salt: I can swim. You’know the oceans and some lakes are salt water- that’s where I come from. In places where seas and lakes have dried up, I survive as rock salt and then they mine me…just like they do with gold.
Pepper: Then you aren’t “salt of the earth”
Salt: Not really
Pepper: I have a more difficult journey. I am originally a tropical fruit, now grown in South Asia and Southeast Asia. I am grown as a berry on a vine, and my name comes from a sanskrit word meaning berry.
Salt: I don’t know how the word “salt” came to be, but I’m told the words “salary” and “salad” somehow come from the word “salt”.
Pepper: You know, I’m glad we are having this conversation, Salt. I always thought you were so different I wouldn’t like you. But I do like you; you are feisty and fun.
Salt: I feel the same. I like that you stand up for yourself as well. You know what? This Labor Day weekend is time for good food and good friends…like us!. Working together, we could do wonders for a grilled steak.
Pepper: Agreed. Let’s join forces. Backyard chef, bring on the steak!