Salt of the Earth

It’s Summertime in England so Jessica and I are eating the bounty of the season. Now is the perfect time for lamb. Yesterday we went to the Open Market and picked up half a leg of lamb (butterflied) from Tottington Manor Farm. This evening, we marinated it with rosemary, thyme, garlic, olive oil, and lemon and then threw it on the barbecue.

While we ate, we listened to a podcast episode. This time it was a documentary about salt from my Huffduffer feed. It’s an entertaining listen. As well as covering the science and history of salt, there were some interesting titbits on salt-based folklore. There’s the obvious one of throwing spilt salt over your shoulder (in to the eyes of the devil, apparently) but there was also one that neither of us had heard of: that offering someone salt at the dinner table is bad luck and warrants the rebuttal “pass me salt, pass me sorrow!”

Well, you live and learn.

Then we started thinking about other salt-based traditions. I have something in the back of my mind about a new year’s eve tradition in Ireland involving throwing bread at the door and sprinkling salt in the doorway. Jessica remembered something about a tradition in eastern European countries involving bread and salt as a greeting. Sure enough, a quick web search turned up the Russian tradition: “Хлеб да соль!!” ( “Bread and salt!”).

This traditional greeting has been extended off our planet. During the historic Apollo-Soyuz docking, crackers and salt were used as an easy substitute. But now when cosmonauts arrive at the International Space Station, they are greeted with specially-made portions of bread and salt.

We finished listening to the podcast. We finished eating our lamb—liberally seasoned with Oregonian salt from Jacobson. Then we went outside and looked up at the ISS flying overhead. When Oleg, Gennady, and Mikhail arrive back on Earth, they will be offered the traditional greeting of bread and salt.

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Previously on this day

6 years ago I wrote Brighton in September

Five weeks and counting to dConstruct 2013.

7 years ago I wrote Things

Read these things about things on the network.

10 years ago I wrote The HTML5 Equilibrium

Inside the troubled mind of HTML5.

11 years ago I wrote The Dark Knight on the silver screen

The popcorn, the people, the crappiness.

11 years ago I wrote That sound

Moved to tears by the voice of a robot.

16 years ago I wrote Baltimore

I’m in the States. Baltimore, to be precise.

17 years ago I wrote Milk appeal for pint-sized hedgehogs

The first-day goat’s milk of the female goat who’s just had kids is something we all take for granted but did you know that the same one-day old goat’s milk could save the life of a baby hedgehog?