|brandont||Date: Sunday, 2012-06-10, 11:19 PM | Message # 1|
|Mark Kurlansky has written remarkable history of mankind's love affair with salt. From Lake Yuncheng 8,000 years ago in what is now modern-day China to the fine granular perfection of a box of Morton's, Kurlansky uses salt as a lens through which to view the development of technology and nations. |
This is an informal and amusing book, filled with what seems solid research and clear thinking. Half history and half food writing, Kurlansky visits Portugese cod-fishing fleets and Roman salt mines, ancient Asian saltworks and Edmund McIlhenny's salt island in New Iberia Parish, Louisiana. A human's need for salt making them vulnerable to taxation, and thence rebellion, as well as the growth of technologies, particularly drilling technologies, spurred by the need for, and want of, salt.
Today, with blast freezers, refrigerated truck lines and jets that can move fresh seafood around the world, we have forgotten just how critical salt once was. Nowadays we can tinker with our salt intake and question its affect on health, but for men and women laboring under the sun in salt-poor regions, it was life itself. Kurlansky remninds us of these things, and how the humble white crystal has been part of our development as a civilization.