Salt, at some stage, was a very pricey commodity. Roman soldiers were paid in salt (salaria), which they could then use to trade for other things. Thus salary had its origin in "salt". And a good soldier was inevitably worth his salt (or not). Salt has become common over time and we seldom give it a second thought now.
Here at Velddrif on the West Coast, with its fields of brilliant white salt pans, a lot of salt finds its way into packaging and from there into the shops.This salt is extracted from sea brine which is pumped into pans to dry. There are plain and iodised table salt and some health salts with added spices, as well as coarse salt that is so attractive in a salt grinder.
But wait for it: khoisan salt, used for centuries by the first inhabitants of this country, is truly the queen of salts! It is natural, unsieved, unrefined, solar, hand harvested sea salt. The best product is "the cream of the salt" skimmed from the top and dried in a special way. The end result is Fleur de Sel salt flakes which was named one of the 5 top salts in the world. My painting shows a busy little scene at the salt works. Healthy khoisan salt is sold in all the curio shops, markets and restaurants around Velddrif and Langebaan.
We have recently bought a book with wonderful traditional khoisan recipes going back centuries. I think one has to be somewhat brave to try some recipes, but my first venture will be a rub that can be used on bread before baking, in salads or to rub meat with before cooking. The rub is made from the khoisan salt crystals, wild sage that grows in abundance in the fynbos; and some grated dry bokkoms......ah the sea, field and riverside aromas of West Coast will waft through my home!