Very early in his book, Kurlansky refers to an essay by the psychoanalyst Ernest Jones on man's obsession with salt. Whether or not man, in general, has an obsession with salt may be debatable. That one man in particular--Mark Kurlansky--has, is made more than clear by this unusual and enjoyable book. He seems to have set out to put between the covers of one volume every single fact about the history of man's relationship with salt that he could unearth. How the Ancient Greeks salted their tuna. Why the Mayans used salt as a medicine in healing rituals. The story of the great salt merchants of China. The French tax on salt and how its injustice contributed to the French Revolution. Why Gandhi chose salt as a symbol of the Raj's oppression. Kurlansky ranges through the centuries and across the world to tell the story of salt. As a prize-winning food writer he is particularly good on the ways salt has shaped our eating habits and once again, as in his earlier book Cod
, he seasons his text with recipes he has come across in his research. In the course of 450 pages the reader may occasionally feel that here is a book that tells one more about salt than one wants to know but, for most of those pages, Kurlansky's enthusiasm, knowledge and style create an engrossing tale.--Nick Rennison
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"Kurlansky finds the world in a grain of salt...fascination and surprise regularly erupt from the detail." —The New York Times Book Review
This is terrific food writing; like fleur de sel, something scarce and to be savored." —San Francisco Chronicle
"Kurlansky continues to prove himself remarkably adept at taking a most unlikely candidate and telling its tale with epic grandeur. " —Los Angeles Times Book Review
"If you are drawn to history and curious about the origins of foods, allow Mark Kurlansky to take you on an incredible journey through the centuries by way of salt." —The Baltimore Sun
"Kurlansky does a masterful job of expanding the reader's horizons....This book of minutely researched data and history can literally make the mouth water." —The Boston Globe