My research topic for our presentation was focused on the history, cultural importance and science of salt. I came across some really fun and/or interesting uses for salt – many of which were from Mark Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History (a pretty good read, by the way). I’ll give you a few of my favorites: In many cultures it seems that salt is thought to bring fertility. In the Pyrenees Mountains, the bride and groom kept salt in their pockets to ward off impotence. In German culture, the shoes of the bride are sprinkled with a little salt and in Paris, women were known to “salt” their husbands in order to make them more virile (the lovely picture below goes with this one).
Salt was often thought to ward off evil spirits as well. Newborns were salted in Europe to protect them from evil until they were baptized. Salt was also tied to sin and sexuality. In Egypt, priests who practiced celibacy refrained from salt consumption because it was said to excite sexual desire. When the Pima Indians killed an Apache, he and his wife both had to abstain from salt and sex for almost a month. There are many more meanings attached to salt but I don’t want to bore you all (read Kurlansky’s book if you want to learn more). I’ve attached some diagrams from our presentation. They’re pretty self explanatory if you want to take a look. We have our first design charrette on Friday so keep your eye out for our design proposals.