Behind the scenes of the conservation process, an additional activity often takes place which is just as meaningful – restoration. This activity, which recreates history in the present, imbues it with additional meanings and transforms the old into new. In food, restoration is an inherent action dating from ancient times. The drying of foods with salt preserves them over time, and reconstituting them with liquids imbues them with new flavors that differ from their original ones. A flourishing industry of salt preservation of fish was located on the banks of the Sea of Galilee and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The conservation process was done at “salt plants” along the shoreline, where fresh fish plucked from the sea were received, cleaned, salted and packaged. Throughout history, a plethora of recipes have been collected that re-translated the flavors of those fish by periods and evolving traditions. For one week, 15 tons of salt was brought to Jerusalem from the salt factory at Atlit, which was used to reconstruct the “salt plants” and show the work of local conservation activities. During the opening evening, fish that were pressed in salt and preserved the flavor and culinary tradition in Israel, were extracted from the walls of the salt structure and brought back to life using restoration facilities, special tools and various types of concoctions.
Photos by Noa Penn