Salt (Part 2)

Uploaded by SPimpernel1 on 27.09.2011

Hello again. This video is Salt: Part 2. A link to part 1 is here, and I'll put it up
again at the end of the video. But if you haven't seen it, don't worry. It's not necessary.
And the information is from this lovely book.
You are all probably aware that salt is used to cure meat, and the reason this works is
that salt kills bacteria.
But there are many other food that salt is associated with. One of them is actually cheese.
Um. Even cheese has salt. But an interesting side note about cheese is that it uses rennet
which is enzymes taken from the fourth stomach of a young un-weaned calf, and the calf used
to have to be killed. But “modern methods” can use enzymes from ground up deep-frozen
Now, I am not sure what country you are from, but I personally had never head of garum which
is a sort of fermented fish sauce. A Greek recipe from 900AD says to put salt, fish intestines
and a small fish, sorry “small fish,” small fish in a vessel and let it ferment
in the sun, and then the mixture is strained and eaten, and it was actually a common digestive
Even ketchup used to have fish in it. The word ketchup actually comes from the name
of an Indonesian fish – kecap ikan. And ketchup used to originally have vinegar, white
wine, ginger, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, lemon peel, horseradish, mushroom juice, and 12-14
shredded dissolved salt cured anchovies.
Butter used to be heavily salted. And there was actually a divide around the 1300s where
the people in the North of England would use butter on their salt . . . Sorry. Butter on
their bread! . . . And the people from the South of England would use olive oil. And
the Southerners actually believed that the Northerners, that the butter caused leprosy.
So whenever they traveled up North, they would actually travel with their own olive oil.
Then there is Swedish surströmming which is made with fish close to spawning, their
heads and their entrails are removed, but their roe (or like the eggs) are left in,
and they are put into brine (or salt water) barrels of 200 pounds of fish. And they're
left at around room temperature for 10-12 weeks. (Quote) “By eating time in September,
the can is bulging on the top and bottom and looks ready to explode. . . The can opener
digs in and a white milky brine fizzes out, bubbling like fermented cider and smelling
like a blend of Parmesan cheese and the bilge water from an ancient fishing vessel . . . To
eat To eat the surströmming, the bloated, bluish-white, little headless fish is slit
in the belly and the roe removed. . . The splayed fish is mashed hard on the spine with
a fork and turned over. The bones can then be easily lifted off. The wine-color fermented
flesh inside is then placed on a buttered krisp, a Sweedish cracker, with mashed potatoes”
(138). An while the US Government has officially banned surströmming from being imported,
claiming it is rotten, the salt actually keeps any rot from happening, and it's fermented.
And before you knock fermented food, you might want to try kimchi which is fermented cabbage
and is actually good. Speaking of eating, the Medieval church ended
up designating about half of the year as lean days where food prohibitions were strictly
enforced, sometimes with hangings for things like eating meat on Fridays. On lean days,
red meat was forbidden because it was associated with sex, but water animals were okay to eat.
Fish, of course, were okay, but other things that you could eat were beaver tails, sea
otters, porpoises, and whale. Salted whale blubber was actually really with French peasants
because it was affordable.
Now France had an interesting relationship with salt from time to time, and one example
is a salt law from 1670. Now suicide was already illegal and prohibited by law, but this law
made it so that if you committed suicide you body would be salted, taken to a judge, and
put on public display. In 1784 a forgotten body of a woman who had commuted suicide while
in prison was found seven years after the fact found, and her body had been fermented
in salt and beer. And fortunately she was buried without having to be taken to trial.
France even saw several protest over strict salt laws. In 1784, salt in France cost 2.5
to 20 times more than it did in Brittany, and a thriving black market salt smuggling
trade arose. There were a lot of woman smugglers actually, and they would use false padded
rears filled with salt. But there were men called the gabelous or the gabelle (something),
and they were actually tasked with just enforcing the salt law. And they were very thorough
in their search, and often times these women got caught. And “by the late eighteenth
century, more than 3,000 French men, women, and even children were sentenced to prison
or death every year for crimes against the gabelle.” When the French Revolution happened,
the tax was repealed and everyone in prison who was resisting the law got freed.
This has been just a sprinkling of facts. A link to part one is here, and I will put
a link to the book down below. Thank you for your time and thank you for watching.