Volume. XXI, No. 16
Sunday, 15 October 2006

From the Pastors Heart: Salt - Its Nature (Part 2)

Not many people know that Mahatma Gandhi was against the British salt policy and his first peaceful resistance movement was the salt campaign.  He said that everyone ate salt, and the salt law was wrong.  The following is an excerpt from Gandhi’s letter to Lord Irwin on March 2, 1930:

“If you cannot see your way to deal with these evils and my letter makes no appeal to your heart, then on the twelfth day of this month I shall proceed with such co-workers of the ashram as I can take, to disregard the provisions of the salt laws.  I regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man’s standpoint.  As the independence movement is essentially for the poorest in the land, the beginning will be made with this evil.  The wonder is that we have submitted to the cruel monopoly for so long.”

On March 5, 1931, Lord Irwin signed the Gandhi-Irwin pact, ending the salt campaign.  Indians living on the coast were to be permitted to collect salt for their own use only.  Nowadays, almost three-quarters of India’s salt is produced in Gujarat.  Even a cookbook published in England recognized the problems with the British salt policy.  Mary Eaton said in The Cook and Housekeepers Complete and Universal Dictionary, in 1822:

“One of the greatest grievances of which the poor man can complain is the want of salt.  Many of the insurrections and commotions among the Hindus, have been occasioned by the cruel and unjust monopolies of certain unworthy servants of the East India Company, who to aggrandize their own fortunes have often times bought up, on speculation, all the salt in the different ports and markets.”

As we can see, salt was a very important commodity in everyday life for common people.  Last week, I talked about the preservative power of salt.  Before I’ll introduce another attribute of salt, I’ll make a few more comment on this particular nature of salt.  Salt was also used to preserve butter a few centuries ago.  According to a recipe from the estate of the bishop of Winchester, a pound of salt was to be added for every ten pounds of butter.  You can imagine how salty the butter was.  Salt is also necessary to preserve life.  Animals get the salt they need from brine springs, rock salt, or any natural salt available for licking.  There was a salt lick near Lake Erie, and lots of buffalos licked salt there and made a wide road for their footpaths and trails.  A small town started in this particular place and we have known the town as Buffalo, New York.  How gracious is our God which we are serving!  He provides all things for His creatures.  “O Lord, how manifold are thy works!  In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” Psalm 104:24.

The power of salt for preservation was often misused.  According to a 1670 revision of the criminal code in France, suicide was a grave crime.  Therefore, the law required the bodies of people who took their own lives to be salted, brought before a judge, and sentenced to public display. Also, if a prisoner died before he was brought to the court, he would be salted and put on trial.

It gives tastes.

However, salt does more than preservation.  Without it, we cannot enjoy lots of delicious food.  Isn’t it true that Jesus related the primary work of salt to its taste in Matthew 5:13, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”  There are lots of examples.  First of all, we can think of pickling.  The process is as following: “As vegetables begin to rot, the sugars break down and produce lactic acid, which serves as a preservative.  Theoretically, pickling can be accomplished without salt, but the carbohydrates and proteins in the vegetables tend to putrefy too quickly to be saved by the emerging lactic acid.  Without salt, yeast forms, and the fermentation process leads to alcohol rather than pickles.  Between .8 and 1.5 percent of the vegetable’s weight in salt holds off the rotting process until the lactic acid can take over.”  The Egyptians have claimed that they contributed to the use of olives for food.  The fresh-picked fruit of the olive tree is so hard and bitter.  However, the salt would render it not only edible but enjoyable.  The Romans salted their greens, believing this to counteract the natural bitterness, which is the origin of the word, salad, salted.  The oldest surviving complete book of Latin prose written by Cato in the 2nd century BC, De agricultura, suggests a way to eat cabbage as following: “If you want your cabbage chopped, washed, dried, sprinkled with salt of vinegar, there is nothing healthier.”  The most common salt-cured vegetables from Alsace to the Urals were cucumbers and cabbage-pickles and sauerkraut.  The amount of salt used in sauerkraut in Russia and Poland depended on the economic status of the family.

By the seventeenth century, the English found that salted anchovies would melt into a sauce.  Anchovies in salt are preserved, and they become garum.  In the 18th century, anchovy sauce became known as ketchup, or catsup in England.  In fact, ketchup is an Indonesian name coming from the Indonesian fish and soy sauce kecap ikan.  Therefore, garum, anchovy sauce, or ketchup means the same thing, which needs a large dose of salt. Ketchup became a tomato sauce, which was originally called “tomato ketchup” in America.

For the lovers of pork meat, let me tell you an ancient way to eat, which was proposed by a man in Gaul in the 6th century, Anthimus: “Loin of pork is best eaten roasted, because it is a good food and well digested, provided that, while it is roasting, it is spread with feathers dipped in brine.  If the loin of pork is rather tough when eaten, it is better to dip in pure salt.  We ban the use of fish sauce from every culinary role.”  Sardines got their name from salt fish cured in Sardina.  I am not sure if I can find any higher praise of salt than the following description: “although there may be someone who does not seek gold, there never yet lived the man who does not desire salt, which makes every food more savory” (Cassiodorus, AD 523).  By the way, the word salami came from a Latin verb to salt.

As we have seen so far, salt not only preserves but gives flavour to food.  What kind of flavour have you given to the world?  Or, have you lost your flavour and been thrown out to the street?  What kind of salt are you?

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question 67: Which is the sixth commandment?  The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Ps Ki, Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev David Koo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, & Winston Selvanayagam; Sisters Sheila George, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Chrisanthi Selvanayagam, Iris Surman, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction. "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped:” (Ps 28:7a).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions - Ps Ki’s ministry (from Fri, 20 Oct), B-P Churches; Khmer pastors & families; Khmer Bible students studying at FEBC; b) Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam; c) Pastors & believers in India & Pakistan; d) Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim; e) Journey Mercies - Ps Ki (Cambodia); Sis Luan Price (Vietnam) & others travelling this week; f) Jobs for - Mr Leo Xeng; g) Year 12 & Uni students as they prepare for their examinations next month; h) Ebenezer B-P Church - funds for the purchasing of property for sanctuary and parsonage; i) Rain to come - the worst drought in Australia.

Praise and Thank God for – a) AFG Bible Study; Joy, Maranatha & Wed Prayer & Bible Study meetings; YAF activity (lawn bowls); b) Journey mercies - Dn Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong; Bros Raphael Ng, Leonard Teo, Daniel Volvricht, Charles Yeo & family; Sisters Mei Lim & family, Joyce Gong, Bernadette Lee, Josephine Lee (Adl); Bro Peter & Sis Sonia Mitchell (Adl); Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (UK); Sis Wendy Gong (Kalgoolie), Mr Phil Surman & family (KL), & others travelling during the school vacation.

Please pray for The Lord to provide $8,675 for Pastor’s car fund.



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