Salt seems a simple substance, but you may be surprised by some of the facts found in Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky.

For instance, salt is present throughout the human body and is needed for virtually every physical function. As another example, it takes weeks of immersion in a salt bath to create Parmesan cheese. And did you know that Gandhi's nonviolent drive for Indian independence began as a protest against a salt tax? Or that the creation of liquid bleach became possible only after scientists figured out the chemistry of sodium?

The salt industry boasts 14,000 different uses for salt! In America, most salt, a prized commodity in world trade in ages past, now goes to de-ice roads in winter.

- Today in the Word, p.7