The thought of salt as a treasure has been lingering in my mind for decades. But it didn’t really come into form as a thought-to-explore until much later.
One day, I was watching a show about spices and the host of the show mentioned that if there was something he couldn’t live without, it would be chili powder. That made me think about what food flavouring I would take to an isolated area without access to the sea, if only one was possible to take. You guessed it, salt!
Why salt? Without checking references, I tried to rhyme out the uses of salt that I knew. Salt is a preservative, and helps people store some food longer. Then there’s the obvious, which is salt used as food flavouring. If it was snowy, salt can act as a thawing agent to delay ice formation, and help people walk on icy sidewalks without slipping. Salt can be a great body scrub (with some oil). When with a sore throat, my elders taught me to gargle with salt.
I also swam in the sea and ocean when I felt ill and would get better after. All my cuts and wounds would heal so much faster after a dip in the salty waters. And another thing, if I had a cold, it would be gone! The cold viruses did not like salt at all. I also knew that we needed salt in our bodies so our organs can function optimally. Salt is necessary for survival.
At this point, I started to run out of ideas, and thought, “But surely I can’t be the only one to value salt that much”. There must have been people who talked about the great importance of salt somewhere in the prehistoric and recorded history. So off to the internet I went to check for the history of salt.
Did you know that salt was so valued in ancient times that people were literally paid with salt? That’s where the term, “salary” came from. Yes, salary was derived from the latin word for salt, called sal. This is also where the expression, “not worth his salt” found its origin.
So, the next time I reach for a container of salt, I’m going to give gratitude for its presence in my life. Natural salt such as sea salt, in particular, need time and patience to be gathered, and I am thankful to the earth for giving me such a valuable and necessary compound, and also give thanks to those who gather and deliver salt so that all I have to do is buy it from the store and sprinkle it on my food.
If you like salt and want to know more about its history, here’s a link: