Putting the Squeeze On
Being made is the highest honor they can give you. It means you belong to the Salute Santé family and crew.
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a grapeseed oil. To me, being a grapeseed oil was better than being President of the United States.
Even before I first wandered into the oil extractor for an after-school job, I knew I wanted to be a part of them. It was there I belonged. To me it meant being something in a kitchen full of nothing.
Grapeseed oils weren't like other oils. They enhanced the flavors of whatever they wanted. They'd add a light and nutty, yet neutral flavor to any dish and nobody ever gave them a ticket. In a marinade they wouldn't cloud when chilled, and nobody ever called the cops.
At first, my parents loved that I found a job as a grapeseed oil. My father, who was a Merlot, was sent to a wine cellar at the age of eleven, and he liked that I got myself a job. He always said California grapes were spoiled lazy.
And my mother was happy after she found out that the Salute Santé came from the same part of Napa Valley as she did. To my mother, it was the answer to her prayers.
I was the luckiest grape in the world. I could go anywhere. I could do anything. I knew every chef and every chef knew me.
I didn't have to wait behind the line at the restaurant anymore. The chef knew who I was, and he'd grab me, no matter how many other oils were waiting. I was used first.
His sautés didn't smoke, splatter or burn anymore, even though he always cranked up the heat. At 485 degrees, my smoke point was higher than most of the other oils in the kitchen. I had no cholesterol, sodium or preservatives.
But I had it all.