Oh you devil rock!

>> Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Deamon mineral!! CRUEL MISTRESS OF THE SEA!!!!!

I am, of course, talking about salt.

Yes, salt... the only white powder i've truly given my soul to, (Ok ok, so not all salt is white, but i've gotta make some kind of analogy/metaphor/quip/joke/jitter don't i?) Getting back to the point: Ah, there comes a time every month (wink*wink) when i just can't get enough of the stuff. I do believe the great Margaret Visser put it best when she wrote "Salt is the only rock directly consumed by man. It corrodes but preserves. It desiccates but is wrested from the water. It has fascinated man for thousands of years, not only as a substance he prized but as a generator of mythic and of legendary meaning. Its contradictions only intensify its power and its links with the experience of the sacred." (DiRuscio).

(Haha, you like that MLA format don't you!?)

Ahem, without salt there would be no beef jerky, soda pop, spaghetti sauce, canned soup, potato chips, chocolate, cheese, peanut butter, ham, ketchup, athletic drinks, bread, pickles, olives, anchovies, capers, or pretzels!!! There would also be no solace from the red harpy of Eve for me... But wait, that bag of pretzels doesn't list a daily "salt" intake, hmm, it only says sodium. Well, everyone knows that sodium is the other name for salt right? WRONG!!!

The name "Salt" describes any ionic compound in which the anions and cations are balanced to provide a neutral product. Just so happens that this form usually looks like a crystal, though not always. But, you wouldn't want to grab a hunk of salt and start grinding away over a steak (or tofu steak if you're me) cause not all salt tastes, well, salty. In natural hard salt deposits, about 1% is edible and the other 99% is so mottled with large amounts of trace minerals that it's not very useful for flavoring. Instead, you can spread it on your snowy walkways or make some salt licks for your pet cows (they don't mind the minerals at all).

Table salt, or "edible" salt, is born of 2 very dangerous things: Chlorine gas, famous for those bomb attacks during WW1, and sodium, which happens to explode when exposed to moisture (Bet you didn't know that did ya?). Sodium itself needs to be submerged in kerosene, (yummy i know), so that no one loses an eye or leg trying to season some veggies.

Then how do we get explosive sodium into toxic chlorine gas so that we can bbq? Well, turns out nature did the hard part for us. Sodium Chloride can be found everywhere! Well, almost everywhere, in yup, you guessed it, the oceans. When evaporated, naturally or mechanically, we reap the sweet, er, salty benefits. (We do get some table salt from rock deposits, but it's extremely rare to find un-contaminated salt in large enough quantities).

So there you go, more about salt then you ever thought you'd be willing to read but stuck through because it actually is interesting, or because you're trying to humor me.

Some fun salty snacks (for your mind only):
>>>In the 1920's iodine was added to American table salt tohelp prevent hypothyroidism, which was near epidemiclevels at the time. Today, it's nearly nonexistent.
>>>England towns that were once salt centers have wichin their names (Norwich, Greenwich). In Germany andAustria, salz or hall are used.
>>>Many American frontiersmen, including Daniel Boone,were taught how to make salt by Native Americans.
>>>During the Middle Ages salt was used as a symbol of purity not only because it could preserve things, but because it was often the whitest thing around.
>>>Some of the oldest roads still in use in Europeand Africa were originally built to move salt.
>>>The old saying, “he’s not worth his salt” comes from the days when Roman soldiers were paid a “salary” just for buying salt.
>>>Back in the Dark Ages, people thought that spilling something as pure and sacred as salt might bring on demonic attack from behind. The only cure was supposedly to take some salt and throw it over your shoulder.

For more information on salt you can check out your local library, HAHAHAHA just kidding... Here's some links you lazy asses:
Good Eats: Eat this Rock http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season7/Salt/salt.htm
Wiki's Salt Article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt
Salt Institute : Kinda technical, but really good! http://www.saltinstitute.org/15.html

~The Toast

2 comments:

Dick Hanneman December 19, 2006 at 7:47 PM  

Sorry to be so "technical." We actually think most of the pages on our website are ideal for laymen. Several pages have been identified as appropriate sources for information on salt by the National Science Teachers Association.

Dick Hanneman
President
Salt Institute

yeaaahtoast December 20, 2006 at 9:17 AM  

Actually, it was intended as more of a joke! My link was in specifics to the "What is salt page" which has a number of terms that are not explained or linked to defenitions.
It's a very thorough site, which can feel a bit overwhelming at times, but it's definitely chock full of information that I, as a teacher myself, did understand. Didn't mean to offend anyone!

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