A-Z Blogging in April
By Jeff Salter
And, of course, for SALTer. Ha. I finally drew an easy letter for this month of A-Z Blogging. After struggling with E, K, and Q … it was time for a letter which is as familiar to me as my last name. Oh, wait a minute, that IS the beginning of my last name.
I’ve been told that the name Salter comes from two possible sources:
1. the person in a village who acquired (and therefore controlled) the essential mineral, salt … and also sold or traded it for other commodities.
2. the person who collected, maintained, or otherwise dealt with the psalter volumes. But what is a psalter?
“A Psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Saints. Until the later medieval emergence of the book of hours, Psalters were the books most widely owned by wealthy lay persons and were commonly used for learning to read. Many Psalters were richly illuminated and they include some of the most spectacular surviving examples of medieval book art.” [From wikipedia]
S is for Salt
But y’all got me distracted talking about my name. S is really for Salt! There’s so much about salt which is truly fascinating, and I won’t attempt to summarize it here. For a pretty thorough run-down, however, take a gander at this wikipedia article:
Exclusive of the data in that article, what I’ve long known (or believed) about salt is:
* before refrigeration, salt was the primary preservative for such food as meats — and therefore, extremely valuable. [Otherwise, anything you couldn’t eat on-the-spot would spoil.]
* salt is essential for animal (including human) life in small quantities, yet apparently deadly in large doses
* it’s deadly to plant life in large quantities, yet (apparently) already present in the soil in small quantities
* raw sea salts and raw rock salts are NOT the same thing that you sprinkle on your morning eggs. The salt we consume is refined and iodized.
* salt has a LOT of significance in several world religions
* it was common in generations past to issue “salt tablets” to military troops who sweated a lot from exertion (whether from exercise, labor, marching, or combat). However, in more recent times, that is highly discouraged due to possibility of strokes.
* mining salt must have been arduous and dangerous work …. as evidenced by the dismay in the common expression, “back to the salt mine”.
Worth Your Salt
One tidbit from the wikipedia article which I simply have to mention:
“The word salary originates from Latin: salarium which referred to the money paid to the Roman Army’s soldiers for the purchase of salt.”
And that, folks, is where we get the expression, “he’s not worth his salt”.
What S-Word would you have included in today’s post?