Summary Blog #2 – Salt

Do you know where the word “salary” comes from? Salary as in payment, not a weird accented way of saying celery (laughs). The chunk “sal” is a Latin word for salt. Weird to mix money and salt in the same bowl, huh? Back way before we were born, in AD, Roman soldiers were often paid in salt. We of course, are paid (not often) in green bills.
Salt, also known as sodium chloride spurred global trade, having the largest increase in production coupled with precipitous drop in price. It became an economic sanction that used to be precious and often expensive, bringing about wars to monopolize this wonderful substance. In fact, settlements around the Dead Sea were often haggled and conquered specifically for this. Salt towns thrived, encouraging migration, changing systems of social and political control. Due to the need for salt, industries boomed and travel became a regular. Via Salaria was part of the world’s great triangle trades, which translate as “road of salt”. But not only was Europe in on it; Egyptians wanted it for the use of mummification.
How can mere grains change so much you ask? Well, NaCl – sodium chloride – is composed of Na+ and Cl- in a cubic arrangement. Relating to the solubility rules, there is an element in the first group (alkali metals) so the tendency for these ions is to disperse randomly in water – H+ and OH-. This awesome characteristic allows it to attract water molecules from the material the salt is on, removing chances of bacteria that cause decay, making a good preservative. This opens up the doors for fisherman to catch fish farther from shore, digging deeper into culinary foods.
Speaking of culinary foods, you know those nights your mom cooks a plain meal and you pour on the salt and pepper… maybe ketchup… soy sauce… fact is that it enhances flavors. Not to mention the fact it is an essential component of digestive juices in the stomach and vital for the functioning of nerves and ultimately muscle movement. I’m not quite finished, yet; salt helps to maintain electrolyte balance between cells and fluid surrounding cells to keep the cell at a comfortable size. Lack of dietary salt could’ve prevented wartime wound from healing and can be blamed for the responsibility of thousands.
Tax collectors of salt, known as gabelles, was one main grievances responsible for the French Revolution, says Couter and Burreson. By giving us direct information and chemistry on the molecules, we can have a basis understanding at what these two believe in. Couter and Burreson go into fine detail about the impact and structure of sodium chloride, making sense about the use of the compound.
The use of salt has died down due to other spices and refrigerants, and although I don’t agree to the extremity in some statements (such as the main grievance responsible for the French Revolution), I can for sure agree that without the sprinkle of salt, our world would be much different.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Summary Blog #2 – Salt

  1. Good job! I loved your Latin reference!! haha I think you did a great job explaining the historical role salt has had over the years. I think salt is one of those compounds that used to be much more valuable than it is today.

  2. dukeleiy23

    Great job Vicky! I really like how you made it entertaining in the begining which really draws in a crowd!

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