By Glen Mason
New Journal and Guide Food and Cooking Correspondent
Water is the most important staple and ingredient in ANY kitchen.
That is a thought often times taken for granted, too. Water is the base of soups, stock, sauces and marinades. It washes our foods, sanitizes hands, cleanse utensils, and acts as a natural preservative in its frozen state.
Yet, vital to our existence for myriad reasons, water is that and more. It is 60-70 percent of our body depending research sources. The body uses it to transfer nutrients, lubricate joints and organs, regulate temperature and eliminate waste.
Long before bottled water became the in-thing for the health conscious, generations of families have entrusted the purity of their water, and its benefit to their health to James R. Tabron’s WaterPlus in Norfolk on Popular Hall Drive near Military Circle. Read: personal service and quality.
In other words, over 30 years of loyal customers.
“Grandparents, their children’s children,” said Tabron, a Hampton native and probation officer before going into business. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, a chance encounter at Coliseum Mall in Hampton altered his career path.
“Bert Smith had a store in Coliseum Mall called Water and Health, which is what my store used to be named,” Tabron recalled. “I was walking in the mall and saw these men walking around in lab coats.
“That was kind of interesting in that setting so I approached them. When I inquired they told me they installed distillers. They had a big aquarium, different distillers in there, like the ones you see here. I walked in there and asked what is that?
“Then Mr. Smith did the puppy dog close on me. He gave me a bottle of distilled water.” chortled Tabron. “The rest is 33 and a half years later. He opened the Coliseum store in 1983, in 95 he opened another in VA Beach. That showed me the market potential. A friend told me they were thinking of selling a distiller so that’s when I decided to go into the business myself. I still have that first DuraStill distiller.”
Distilled water is 99.9 percent pure, according to Tabron.
“Water is tasteless, odorless and clear” said James Tabron. “I learned that from Smith, one of the gentlemen in a lab coat. “I told him that I never knew water that was clear. I didn’t drink it much because it made my stomach feel funny I told him. “As it turned out the water system was older than other parts of the city. I had been drinking bad city water as it turns out.”
Tabron described the process for the layman.
Distilled water is water that has been heated to a steam and then the condensation is passed through coils, then a charcoal based filter system. It results in water of a higher percent in purity.
Sauces to soups to stock to pasta. In one gourmand’s world view, distilled water is the prime ingredient.