#830 Salt

Shake it like a Polaroid picture

You’re here because of salt.

Honestly, according to our egghead pals at Wikipedia, salt’s ability to preserve food was a foundation of civilization. People figured out that they could take their food with them, and skipped town with a lunch bag to see what was over the hills. Salt affected where roads were built, cities were constructed, and kingdoms flourished.

Get this: during the Roman Empire, caravans of up to 40,000 camels would mosey 400 odd miles through the Sahara desert to bring salt to the market because it was so valuable. In the 1500s, a vast Polish empire rose because of the salt mines there — like the Dubai of 500 years ago — but then was wiped out as soon as Germans figured out how to make sea salt instead. Salt caused wars and ended them — with armies salting the Earth before they left and really messing up their gardens.

And they would walk 500 miles

Yes, salt was so valuable that it was used as currency, with even the word salary derived from the Latin word salanium which means money given to soldiers so they could buy salt.

These days, salt costs a dollar and is available everywhere salt is sold. Sure, we’ve dumped it on dusty shelves at the back of the grocery store and preached about its devastating health effects in fitness magazines, but let me just say — straight up — that nothing can take away salt’s mojo, bro.

And that’s fo’ sho’.

Because here we go:

why-you-should-eat-iodine5.The lady, she brings the iodine. Health organizations suggest sucking back 150 micrograms of iodine a day to keep fit and have fun. Unless you’re eating a lot of seaweed or fresh fish, the best way to pick this up is iodized salt. Sadly, the World Health Organization said in 2007 that over two billion people have iodine deficiency, which results in thick goiters on your neck and stunted physical and mental growth. … Not awesome.

4. Taste the rainbow. Have you ever tossed salt in a stir-fry of bland vegetables? Buddy, now you’re talking. When you add salt, the flavors all have a coming out party to celebrate. Plus, thanks to salt’s powers of preservation, you can enjoy your food long after harvest.

3. Fights ice real nice. Those of us from cold climates know ice patches on roads and sidewalks are slippery deathtraps. But good ol’ salt, always there, always ready, cracks and busts up those deathsheets without hesitation.

2. It’s dirt cheap. Nope, nobody will be getting top dollar for a bag of salt at market anymore. Nowadays a handful of warm quarters will get you a year’s supply of the stuff.

1. Never quits its day job. Even though it probably could. See, salt has a host of other uses. You gargle with it to help a sore throat and toss it in a pot of spaghetti to prevent the noodles from sticking. Big companies use salt to set dyes, keep things dry, and produce soaps and shampoos. Plus, if you’ve ever had a giant leech sucking on your neck, you know that tossing some salt in its face usually gets the job done.

Yup, life sure would be bland without salt. So people, please: if you have a moment, just sit back and remember that salt’s come a long way to be here today.

And we sure have come a long way because of it.

AWESOME!

Dinner

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

14 Comments

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14 responses to “#830 Salt

  1. Has anyone ever sprinkled salt in their chocolate milk? I’ve heard that it’s delicious, but I’ve never bothered to try it…

  2. Whats the superstition about throwing salt over your shoulder?

    • Pretty much exactly that. If you spill salt on the table, you’ve got to throw it over your left shoulder or you’ll have bad luck.

      …And when I say throw “it”, I mean the salt, not the table. A lot of people get in trouble that way. :-\

      Although, I believe one belief with the superstition is derived from a time when salt was a precious commodity; wasting it was almost sinful, so you’d toss a pinch over your shoulder to blind the Devil to your misdeed. :P

    • amaebi519

      I heard it was about fending off vampires. I actually used to do it out of habit…until I watched Twilight ;)

  3. Max

    Yeah, salt! I had no idea that salt had so much history behind it. I think that this is one of the most educational awesome things ever.

  4. Wendy

    Yes! Outstanding post, Neil!
    I swear at least 10 pounds I pack is from my love of salt!
    I think this is pretty awesome too! http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/salt_lake/recreation/bonneville_salt_flats/Bonneville_Salt_Flats_History.html
    and this awesome movie was filmed in New Zealand and Utah’s Salt Flats, with awesome Anthony Hopkins too!
    http://www.solarmovie.so/watch-the-world-s-fastest-indian-2005.html
    and so, this was my awesome comment to add…I hope you think it’s awesome:)

  5. This is one of my favorite awesome posts! Yay for salt!

  6. e

    You forgot that it does a nice job of turning banana slugs inside out.

  7. Ronald

    I thought “salanium” is a word describing salt as money? So it’s not given to soldiers so that they can buy salt, it’s basically what they earn . . .

  8. Pingback: Blogger Goal of the Month: Start a Regular Series

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