Pour water into large heavy pot (cast iron if available), add salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so water is just simmering. Pour the corn meal slowly using a wire whisk egg beater (or through your fingers) in a steady slow stream, while churning the corn meal and water with the whisk (to minimize lumping of corn meal) until all of the corn meal has been used up. Stir with whisk a few times, then cover and cook at low temperature. Stir mixture thoroughly every few minutes with whisk or wooden spoon for about 30 to 45 minutes or until mixture stiffens and pulls away from the sides of the pan. The polenta is ready.
Slowly invert the polenta on to a wooden or plastic serving board or large dish, shaping to resemble a cake. Using a double strand of white sewing thread begin slicing polenta into "bread slices" by cutting from one side and then from the other side. To keep polenta warm, cover with a clean, white dish towel. Serve.
Polenta in Italy is served as a substitute for bread and can be served with any dish, stew or fish. If any polenta is left over, let it cool, wrap it up in the white dish towel and place in refrigerator for later use. It can be toasted in the toaster oven and eaten with your favorite cheese, cold cuts, salads or your next main meal. When served hot, a piece of soft cheese can be placed under the slice or mixed with the polenta for a snazzy taste. The crust that is left in the pan, when dried, is like tortilla chips. Delicious.