Monday, May 10, 2010


By Mark Kurlansky

Right on the heels of Nathanial's Nutmeg, I was excited to learn more about our everyday spices. What better choice than the king of them all. Salt.

Yeah don't get your hopes up. I'm usually a pretty quick reader. Depending on the time available I usually finish a book in two weeks which is about 6 days of reading. An hour or two a day. Salt took me over three weeks.

It wasn't that this book isn't interesting. Nor that it wasn't. Filled with interesting facts and a history of how salt has shaped the world. Compared to Nathanial's Nutmeg which was one continuous story over a 100+ years, Salt jumps around the world and throughout time. It made it a bit tough to follow. It was more like a bunch of separate essays all about salt.

There are lots of different salts. Chemically that is. Natron, used by the Egyptians for mummification has very little sodium chloride, what most of us would consider salt. Who knew? In case you were wondering: natron today is considered to be sodium carbonate decahydrate (hydrated soda ash.)

I like to browse through footnotes and bibliographies in the books I read, yet I don't really check facts. The one in his book I did check was about Buffalo New York. Salt says that Buffalo got it's name as bison created trails to the area the city is now in to eat the salt grass growing there. Everything I can find says that there were definitely no bison in buffalo.

Salt. Necessary for preservation. But not for reading.
blog comments powered by Disqus