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Salt and Sexuality

S. Yaeger's picture

I was troubled by our in class salt licking, not because I dislike salt, but because ordinary table salt, licked out of our hands, is so different from the way salt is described in The Book of Salt, and so contrary to how salt is used in cooking.  Throughout reading the book, and throughout class on Thursday, I had this unformed idea in my head that we never really got to understand the significance of the salt in the book.  Then, when we read parts of Jessy's post about the queerness in the book being a fact that is simply allowed to be an ingredient that, though it enriches the story and brings a complexity to it, is not overburdened that I understood what was vexxing me.

The thing about salt is that is in nearly everything we eat. It brings out the sweetness of sweet foods, complexifies spicy and aromatic foods, tames bitterness, and even makes foods that may have been considered bland without it palateable. It comes in many forms and from many places, from iodized table salt to fluer de sal (which can be almost floral). However, the other thing about salt is that you can go through an entire meal without ever really naming its presence.  In fact. if it's too obvious, too overused, or too heavy handed, it can turn a feast into chore.  Like salt can take the focus off the other aspects of a meal, so can queerness if it's forced to become the central aspect of a character's being.  I think that, by allowing the characters within it to have multiple facets of their lives, The Book of Salt also allows their sexualities to flourish and enrich the story, instead of overpowering the narrative.