The Rich History and Versatile Uses of Salt

A picture of pink Himalayan salt

Salt is an essential ingredient found in every kitchen, but its significance extends far beyond mere culinary purposes. Throughout history, salt has played a pivotal role in various cultures, not only as a seasoning but also as a symbol of wealth, power, and purification. Moreover, salt is utilized in holistic medicine for its numerous health benefits. In this post, I will delve into the fascinating journey of salt, exploring its historical significance, its usage in the kitchen, and its role in holistic medicine.

Historical Significance

Salt has a long and storied history, dating back thousands of years. It was once a highly prized commodity, often considered as valuable as gold. In ancient times, salt was used for preservation, enhancing the taste of food, and trading purposes. It is said that salt was so valuable during the Roman Empire that soldiers were sometimes paid with it, which is where the word “salary” is believed to have originated.

Culinary Uses

In the culinary world, salt is considered the king of taste. It enhances flavors, balances sweetness, and reduces bitterness. Whether it’s sprinkled on vegetables, incorporated into baking, or used to season meats, salt is an essential component in numerous recipes. Additionally, in modern kitchens, various types of salt, such as sea salt, Himalayan salt, and kosher salt, have gained popularity for their distinct flavors and textures.

Symbolism in Different Cultures

Salt holds deep cultural and symbolic significance in many societies. In some cultures, it is associated with good luck and prosperity. For example, in some religious traditions, salt is used during ceremonies to season bread, symbolizing the eternal covenant between God and the people. In Hinduism, salt is considered a purifying agent and is used in various rituals and ceremonies.

On the other hand, salt can also be associated with negative connotations. In Ancient Greece, if someone wanted to show their disdain for another person, they would cast salt on their doorstep. This act was known as “salting the earth” and was believed to bring bad luck upon the individual.

Holistic Medicine

Beyond its culinary uses, salt has been valued for its therapeutic properties in holistic medicine. In ancient times, people would bathe in saltwater to improve skin health and cleanse the body. Today, salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, involves inhaling salt-infused air to alleviate respiratory conditions like asthma and allergies. Additionally, salt scrubs and salt-infused bath products are popular for exfoliating the skin and promoting relaxation.


Salt’s journey stretches from ancient civilizations to modern holistic therapies. Its historical significance, culinary importance, and symbolic meaning in different cultures make it a truly remarkable substance. Whether you use it to season your dishes, cleanse your body, or partake in cultural rituals, salt continues to enrich our lives in numerous ways. So, the next time you reach for the salt shaker, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and versatile nature of this humble ingredient.

To be like parsley

Food idioms in different countries

There is an expression in Italian “essere un prezzemolino”, almost literally “to be like parsley”. I think the equivalent in English is “to have a finger in every pie” and the meaning is clear: it indicates someone who is always in the middle, who turns up everywhere. What I find amazing is the difference between these cultures on what it is that omnipresent: in Italy we use parsley and in the United Kingdom it’s the pie that’s everywhere.

Other than this taste difference, though, the reflection related to business that originates from this idiom is that sometimes we think the more we are seen, the more we obtain successes and recognitions, while those who are not always “in the middle” get pretty much unnoticed.

Well, this is obviously not always the case: in my mentoring experience, some of the young women I worked with had this very feeling, to be seen and heard every possible time by upper management, while instead I tried and suggest that their actions and results speak for them louder than any other initiatives.

Clearly these results need to be tied directly to them, and they have the clear responsibility to take credit for what they have done. As an example, I used to write on my resume’ “support this and that initiative” or “help launch this or that product”: my then mentor had a good lesson for me on assertiveness. She told me that if I was the owner and the responsible for that initiative or launch, I should have used more direct terms like “manage” or “own”.

There is a qualitative and quantitative difference between choosing when to speak and when to act, and strike a healthy balance between the two. It surely comes with experience, but we can help our mentee identify opportunities to step up…or step down.

Remember the parsley, there IS such thing as too much of a good thing!

Parsley is used almost everywhere in Italy