We all need salt to live. It is an essential component of our bodily fluids and as it leaves our body it needs to be replaced. It is only when too much salt is in our diets that it causes a negative effect on our health.
From a cooking perspective you use salt to bring out not only savoury flavours but also sweet ones. Salt changes the structure of proteins, pulls in juices and even affects your taste buds at a physical and cognitive level. I am not even going to pretend I know how :).
Salt is also indispensable in the preservation of food via salting/curing (its drying properties) or in high saline solutions that inhibit bacteria thus prolonging the life of food stuffs.
So what is table salt. In Australia salt generally comes from the evaporation of seawater to produce salt crystals that are then processed to remove impurities. The ‘rock’ crystals are then ground and mixed with anti-caking additives to make what is called ‘table salt’.
I cook with Saxa table salt (I grew up with this brand) as it very convenient to pour into tablespoons etc. If I am adding salt to my personal meal I use rock salt in a grinder.