You can′t live without it

It is in our bodies. It is in living things around us. It is used in some church services and in social customs. We have superstitions and sayings about it. It has thousands of uses in the world today. One of these is to flavour the egg you have for breakfast. Can you guess what it is? Common table salt.

Salt is necessary for the life and health of people, plants and animals. Blood, sweat and tears are all salt. Body cells must have just the right amount of salt to function properly. Too much salt can be dangerous for your heart  and blood vessels. But if you work or play hard enough to respire heavily, you must replace the salt lost from your system or you could suffer from heat exhaustion.

Salt is made up of two elements, sodium and chlorine, its chemical name is “sodium chloride”. Ordinarily these two work together in proper balance in the body.

Today we take salt for granted, but many years ago salt was scarce, it was used as money. African traders exchanged it for twice its weight in gold. The soldiers in Julius Caesar's army received common salt, called solarium, as part of their pay. From this came the word salary.

From the earliest times, salt has been a symbol of lasting friendship and honor. When the Arabs say, “There is salt between us,” they mean, “We have eaten together and are friends.”

When salt was scarce, it was considered bad luck to spill any of it. Many people still believe this. To prevent bad luck, they say, you must take a pinch of the spilled salt between the thumb and first finger of your right hand and throw it over left shoulder.

Today, almost 40 000 000 tons of salt are produced in the United States alone, taken from mines, wells, and the sea. Some salt deposits are thousands of years. In Poland, 900 feet underground, miners have cut out whole rooms and have carved statues out of pure salt crystals. In another old mine in Columbia, 345 feet down, there is an excavation large enough to hold 10 000 people.

Only a small amount of all the salt produced seasons our food. The rest of it is used in other ways – to preserve food, to cool refrigerated railroad cars, to cure animal hides, to melt winter snow and ice. Chemical compounds made from table salt are also used in manufactured things like glass, soap, paper, and rayon, in heat-treating, smelting, and refining metals, and in water-softening. Common table salt is necessary in many ways we take for granted – our very lives depend upon it.

 

Task 1. Find the proper meaning of the underlined words according to their role in the text

 

  1. Only a small amount of all the salt produced seasons our food. 
    1. make (wood) suitable for use as timber by adjusting its moisture content to that of the environment in which it will be used
    2. add salt, herbs, pepper, or other spices
    3. each of the four divisions of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter)
  2. When salt was scarce, it was considered bad luck to spill any of it.
    1. To stay away; be absent or elusive
    2. Hard to find; absent or rare
    3. Insufficient to meet a demand or requirement; short in supply
  3. Today we take salt for granted.
    1. fail to properly appreciate (someone or something), especially as a result of overfamiliarity
    2. assume that something is true without questioning it
    3. lay hold of (something) with one's hands; reach for and hold
  4. One of these is to flavour the egg you have for breakfast.
    1. to serve on the table
    2. to impart a flavour, taste, or quality to
    3. taste perceived in food or liquid in the mouth

 

Task 2. Decide whether the statement is True or False

 

1. Wild animals replace the salt in their systems by licking natural salt deposits. T F
2. Salt is made of three elements. T F
3. Today we take salt for granted, but many years ago salt was scarce. T F
4. Most of all the salt produced seasons our food. T F





 

Task 3. Choose one of the proverbs and explain the meaning of it.

 

- Trust no one till you have eaten a bushel of salt with him.

- You cannot pick up salt with dry fingers.

- A lovelorn cook over salts the porridge

 

Task 4. Write a short summary to explain one of the proverbs.


Answers: b, c, a, b; T, F, T, F.

 

#food, #salt, #health, #heart, #vessels, #seasoning 

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