Did you know that salt has played a major role in human history, and its availability has frequently effected the type of governments we have? Humans need salt to live - it is a dietary necessity, so whoever has control of its production and/or availability, controls other people. This book discusses that and contains everything and anything you ever wanted to know about salt. It is a fascinating book, both for those interested in food, and history buffs.
Yes, Kurlansky is worth his salt as a writer, researcher and uncoverer of unknown facts about odd subjects. As he did with his previous non fiction books he has woven strands of information into an interesting tapestry, equal parts - enthralling history lesson and cultural voyage. The only problem is at 450 pages and 26 chapters, with numerous visits to different cultures, countries, eras and rulers in an attempt to cover as many of the 14,000 uses that salt is known for - finishing SALT: A WORLD HISTORY leaves you in a brine of facts, but also very thirsty for a unifying theme or story and a more memorable read.
Certainly my knowledge of historical trivia is now seasoned with tidbits such as: the Anglo-Saxon word for saltworks being 'wich' means that places such as Norwich, Greenwich, etc, in England were once ancient salt mines; Ghandi's independence movement in India began with his defying the British salt laws, and the French levied taxes on salt until as recently as 1946.
A common theme in Kurlansky's books is that food is seen as a topic of historical interest. Here we learn about the role salt played in preserving cod, whale, ham, herring, caviar, pastrami, salami and sausage, and as it was with COD and THE BASQUE HISTORY OF THE WORLD this book is sprinkled throughout with recipes.
Salt is certainly an interesting subject; cultural history buffs will love this book and Kurlansky still has a humorous, easy, and very readable writing style; it's just that he probably could have salted away some of the facts without us missing much and he should have developed a flowing theme rather than one that was so saltatory.
Sausage And Pasta
Copyright 2011 Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.
1 pound smoked sausage
1 onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup uncooked egg noodles
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
grated Parmesan cheese, garnish
Cook pasta according to package directions. In skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add smoked sausage, onions and green bell peppers. Stir. Cook until onions and bell peppers are tender. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, basil and oregano. Stir well. Once pasta cooked, drain well. Add pasta to meat mixture, stir well. Just before serving garnish with cheese. Enjoy!
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