salt: it's essential

I am on my last few pinches of a rock sea salt I picked up at a high end kitchen store called Sur la Table, in Santa Monica two years ago. Yesterday at the market I took a peek to see if they had any of the same brand. No. However, there was over a dozen types: pink, grey, black, red, sea, rock, smoked. Well isn't Paul Kennedy's show Ideas on CBC Radio doing a two part documentary about...salt. A guy wrote a book - The History of Salt. People used to be paid in salt, believed to be the origin of the word 'salary' and 'soldier'. 'Wich' maybe from the Greek, implies: somewhere there is salt. Sandwich, Greenwich, Norwich. 'I like salt. We are bombarded with information about sodium and high blood pressure but salt is a complicated ancient commodity we take for granted. If you believe our origins are from the sea, be sure salt was involved. Salt is something civilization couldn't do without. Portuguese (salt cod), Egyptians (preserving the dead), Israel (Dead Sea), Ukrainians (welcoming visitors with bread and salt). Prior to the Industrial revolution we relied on salt for international trade. Locally, my shopping trip to the market shows that France is the biggest producer. And California. This is confirmed by Paul (Ideas) Kennedy who spends an afternoon of salt tasting with Elizabeth Baird (Canadian Living Magazine). His favourite: Malden sea salt from England that reportedly melts and explodes in your mouth. And they pointed out the grey fancy stuff form France is just dirty. Not in the good way. And it's more expensive. You're better off with Sifto. If you want to got upscale they suggest a Fleur de Sel from France or Portugal. France has an annual festival of storytelling in a small town where people told stories (lies) in a town square. A goat hangs in the middle of the square symbolizing the devil. Two little kids dressed in white (purity) come out with little bags of salt and offers it to the contestants. They form tails from this salt in their bag and whoever ends up with the most salt at the end, wins the tournament. And there is such a thing called the World Salt Symposium, now in it's 8th year. It's mostly men in suits, the suits of salt who spend time thinking of how to make more money off the stuff. TIP: Add some salt to ice water to chill your champagne in a hurry. I could write about Angelina Jolie's movie, Salt coming out this summer, but I'll stop here.