Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky

I downloaded this from OverDrive at the same time as The Phantom of the Opera, and started it right after I was done with the novel. It is, shall we say, not the same.

I actually remember seeing this at my local Borders way back in the day when it was the place for me and my friends to hang out. So, like, eight years ago? I was amused by the cover, but was also not at all a non-fiction reader, so it stayed on the shelf. Now that I’m trying to learn more facts (and need things to listen to at work), this book seemed perfect to read!

And it’s quite interesting. I… did not know that you could apply that word to salt before listening to this book. I had no idea that salt was ever considered something valuable, or that wars were fought partially on account of salt, or that the Morton salt I put on my food is, like, intensely uniform. I thought it was just salt!

I also didn’t know a lot of things about salted fish, but that whole section of the book did not interest me, either, so I can’t tell you much except that apparently the Vikings started their slave trade partially because they did not have salted fish to trade with people. Salted fish, humans, same difference.

SPEAKING of salted fish and humans, did you know that when they first started bringing mummies into… what was it, Britain?… the customs people or whoever taxed them as salted fish for lack of a better way to make money off imported dead people? So maybe not so different after all…

This is what I love about non-fiction books these days. Even if the subject seems completely odd or boring, in the right hands it can have me spouting off strange facts for weeks. I’m sure my husband approves.

Recommendation: For anyone who has ever eaten salt, which is, by the way, everyone.

Rating: 8/10

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