OH, SAID COOK, it needs salt, and rushed back to the kitchen. We were eating in front of the television again; our Cubs were preparing to lose their second home game in the World Series. And being a drizzly sort of day we were feasting on chile con carne.
Now I have a thing (you won't be surprised to read) about salt. I particularly like the grey salt raked up from the Atlantic on the shore of the Île de Ré. This may be because I have fond memories of a week there, but of course I doubt this: I think it's because the island provides particularly good salt. (One of the French kings thought so too, and gave the islanders a tax dispensation provided they continue to send him good salt.)
Our local source for this salt has gone out of business, alas, and we haven't yet found another. So we make do with commercial French sea-salt from somewhere in the Atlantic, but it's not the same.
But I can't complain. This chile, once salted, was delicious. I don't know how Cook makes it — I've asked, but she declines to go into it, perhaps impatient with these tedious questions. I'm sure she browns chopped onion and ground beef to begin with, adds some kind of tomato, cooks the beans which have soaked overnight, etcetera, etcetera. It's garnished as you see with chopped cilantro.
Dessert: applesauce — our own apples — and vanilla ice cream, a combination we're both fond of.