Sunday, March 13, 2016


In its history, salt has been an expensive commodity that has been fought over and even used as a currency ('salary' comes from the word salt.) Pure salt was highly salt after and governments would often try to use the salt trade for their benefit. Today, however, salt is dirt cheap and often used to dump on roads. "Impure" salt is more highly valued for its additional color and taste. Salt domes are primarily valuable for the oil that may be contained underneath. (But could the history of salt be a foreboding for the future of oil?)

Salt is a history of sodium chloride - the combination of a flammable metal and a deadly gas - that humans require in moderation. The book explores the ways that salt has been obtained, used, traded and regulated. Salt was historically a preservative used to enable fish and other food to be stored for a long time. (However, freezing has taken over much of the preservation that salt has been used for, leading to curious "frozen" salted fish.)

The history of salt poses a challenge for the book. There is no linear narrative for salt, but instead many different stories that may or may not be connected. This leads to a book that feels like it is jumping around. There are also many recipes and details included which also distract from the main narrative. It all makes for a great book to skim through to pick out the good parts.

No comments:

Post a Comment