Ha Ha Ha Thats Quite Hard To explain i Cant Myself Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky is a fascinating read, even if you would never guess that something so common as salt could be interesting. Oh, but it is, and not just the mineral itself, but how these little crystals could change the world. If you read Salt because you are a foodie or if you read Salt for the history, you will not be disappointed. Kurlansky partitions the book into three sections, but instead of breaking the information he is presenting into text-book style chapters, he integrates the science of salt with the stories behind it. Did you know that salt was once a form of currency? Or that the Chinese couldn't have invented gunpowder or fireworks without salts? Kurlansky's style is easy to read, with a bit of humor thrown in to keep the inundation of facts of Salt interesting rather than laborious.
A great deal of Salt is devoted to different civilizations' take on salt, and how they mined the mineral and how it affected the growth of that culture. Obviously, the Chinese play a major role in the book, as do the Europeans. But did you know that Gandhi's first act of civil disobedience was a march to the sea to pick up a hunk of salt that the British had made forbidden in order to force the Indian sub-continent to buy British salt?
Salt was so desirable that some cultures rose to great prominence due to their salt mines. But hand in hand with salt mining and cultivation was fishing. Before refrigeration, salt was the only preservative that kept food from spoiling, and if it weren't for salt, the New World would never have been colonized. That may sound like a simplified version of European Colonization history, and yet, Kurlansky's analysis of salt's role in this chapter of history is thoughful and thought-provoking.
Salt: A World History doesn't just link salt with European expansion or Egyptian mummification. Salt also delves into the many different kinds of salt. Before the Morton Salt Company used the vacuum evaporation process to make every salt crystal uniform and small, salt used to come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Not only that, but you wouldn't believe how salt was used to make some truly disgusting sauces as well as some really tasty dishes. The Romans used salt to make garam, which was basically rotted fish juice. And it was considered quite the delicacy. Kurlansky offers recipes and guides that were used to make fish dishes and meat courses that were served to royalty.
If you are a food-lover, Salt is a must-read. If you like to read history books, Salt is a fascinating read of a substance that you would never have thought would have had such an influence on world events. If you are a food history buff, Salt is the perfect marriage of those ingredients. He Can Though