We said we'd do a Fork edition on salt like it was a joke last week, but then we caught a glorious Rick Steves episode on the YouTubes (because there's more than one tube) that featured a little island where residents have harvested salt for literally billions and billions of years. Or, like, thousands, whatever, the point is that salt is more interesting than you think. It also makes things taste great (to wit, the popcorn we demolished in the night because The Fork sleeps not and late-night snacks are so for real).

The point is this: Salt, on popcorn or not, played a vital role in the development of human civilization. No fooling. It is, in fact, so important to the history of humankind that without it, everyone everywhere would probably not exist today, and there'd certainly be no popcorn. Think about these next words whenever you crack open a bag of chips, season some thing you're making or wonder why your cat is licking you for no apparent reason.

We'll start at the obvious beginning—how salt has been used to preserve food since time immemorial. Why? A couple reasons: It dries the food, leading to a slowed growth rate. Things can't grow without water, so … yeah. It also straight-up kills certain microbes.

Rock salt, aka sodium chloride, is, technically speaking, a rock. So basically, it's a rock that humans eat. You're eating rocks, nerds.

In the middle ages, salt was so vital that it was known to some as white gold. In other words, them grains were expensive because it was like owning the key to life and longevity.

The term "salary" has its roots in salt, etymologically speaking. The common misconception is that Roman soldiers were paid in salt, and experts disagree on the specifics, but the more widely held and probably correct belief is that the term "salary" actually came into being because it was considered an allowance to buy salt (among other things) which, as we've discussed, would make things last longer.

Speaking of old-ass history, we understand that salt was roughly four times more expensive than beef at one point on the American frontier of the 1800s. Animals need it, too, Fork-a-maniacs, and animals were non-negotiably needed by homesteaders at the time. Y'heard.

 In Guérande, France, where sea salt is still harvested in specially made baskets, salt farmers specifically set aside a fine type of salt called Fleur de Sel, or flower of salt. This stuff is apparently highly desired throughout the world, quite expensive and, we hear, used to garnish food, though never used in cooking. Neat, right? Anyway, it's bonkers-gorgeous there, too.

Ever hear of the Salar de Uyuni? The largest salt flats on Earth can be claimed by the South American nation of Bolivia—and we're talking, like, 4,000 square miles! That's huge, but get this—sometimes, when a thin layer of water winds up on  the top layer of the flats (through condensation or something; what are we, scientists?), the whole dang thing creates a mirror effect. Check it:

In his 1994 book A History of Ethiopia, writer Harold G Marcus lets us know that the African nation once used half-kilo bars of salt called amoleh as currency rather than worry about the possibility of counterfeit or unknown coinage. This practice was commonplace right up until the 20th century.

According to the FDA, most Americans eat about 3,400 milligrams of salt a day, which is actually 50% more than is recommended. But you only live once, right?

Salt is just, like, really delicious.

This has been The Fork, your guide to the world of facts.

In his 1994 book A History of Ethiopia, writer Harold G Marcus lets us know that the African nation once used half-kilo bars of salt called amoleh as currency rather than worry about the possibility of counterfeit or unknown coinage. This practice was commonplace right up until the 20th century.

According to the FDA, most Americans eat about 3,400 milligrams of salt a day, which is actually 50% more than is recommended. But you only live once, right?

Salt is just, like, really delicious.

This has been The Fork, your guide to the world of facts.

Rick Steves loves cannabis, too—he's pretty cool. Anyway, this isn't about salt, it's about Steves.

Also

-SFR's Leah Cantor has a pretty good one about how an economic development grant is helping New Mexico's C4 Farms bring its processing ventures back home after time away.

-You may have read in SFR's pages recently that Impossible Burgers are pretty great. Sadly, however, according to folks in the restaurant world we'e spoken with, supplies in the region are not meeting demands. In other words, nobody has Impossible Burgers right now. We're looking deeper into it and will update you as we can.

-We understand that we give you a lot of farmers market information week-to-week, but they're doing a lot of great stuff, so buckle up! In addition to the annual Wednesday afternoon market that hits around this time of year (which we like because getting up early is for dweebs), the market is adding educational presentations from their vendors. Huzzah!

-Speaking of farmers markets, the one in Eldorado has a new vendor joining its ranks. From what we hear, Naturally New Mexico can sate all of your lamb needs and plans to offer ground beed and fresh eggs in the near future. Word up to you, Eldorado, even if we're bothered by how you turned two words into one.

-Are you ready to not only feel better about your town and its inhabitants, but to actively get excited? It's going to be a good but big chunk of info, so get ready. You ready? OK, good, because Vinaigrette (ruler of all salads and some sammies) has two new initiatives coming up. First is the Summer of Sustainability, whereupon the Santa Fe and Albuquerque locations of the restaurant has two sub-goals:

1. For customers to return to-go containers for recycling (or snap a photo of themselves recycling the container and show the Vinaigrette people) earn points. After 20 points, eco-conscious salad dans get a free to-go item or two in-house items. Wow!

2. Vinaigrette will also offer reusable glass and metal to-go containers (which obviously need to be cared for and returned and which obviously come with a refundable deposit situation) or allow for customers to bring in their own.

We salute Vinaigrette for these steps, and that's not even all—they're kicking off a delivery program soon, too. Say what?! Y'all are killing it over there, truly. Give 'em a call or stop by and be like, "We heard about this jazz in The Fork, sign us up!"

More Tidbits

-Father's Day is coming up (though if The Fork had our way, we could just do Parents Day twice a year and dismantle the ridiculous gender binary), and Food & Wine has a number of cake plans to make for yer dear old dad (or whatever you call them). It's a slideshow, sadly, but you might get a good idea all the same.

-While we've got Impossible Burgers on the brain, and while you're waiting for Santa Fe restaurants to get them back into stock, read this article from eater.com (a site you KNOW we love) about how such foods are not some flash-in-the-pan, they're a way of life, holmes.

-Bad news for Midwest beef fans and who-even-knows-where fans, as Kroger recalled a whole mess of ground beef this week and Tyson recalled a whole mess of chicken. We won't tell you how to live, but we will tell you to be careful.

-A New Jersey man police are calling the "Donut Desperado" live-streamed himself stealing a donut from Dunkin' Donuts. We're not sure how New Jersey became such a regular fixture in The Fork, but this is easily one of the most New Jersey things we've ever heard about (full disclosure: we've always liked folks from Jersey, ask anyone; jay kay, no one knows anything about us so you can't ask, but we do like Jersey folk. Copy editor's note: Thanks, I think, but Jersey is actually an island off the coast of France. We are from New Jersey, that's the state. Just fyi). Anyway, Vice has the details here.

-Meanwhile, in Louisiana, a customer at a Slidell Taco Bell phoned police after learning the chain joint had run out of tacos.

-Lastly, while we were poking around thrillist.com to bring you that important Taco Bell information, we learned about Athletic Brewing, a craft brew company that is apparently out to make non-alcoholic beer "cool." We have no real feelings about this, we're just letting you know.

Two things: Here's that donut thief, and also, we LOVE that there's a news network that is all ASL. Very cool.

Finally

In the print edition of SFR, chile wonderer-abouter Zibby Wilder wanted to know how it’s going with the chile crops down south in New Mexico. It was harder than anyone thought, however, but we did learn that chile is a bigger deal other places than we thought.
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A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence 

Number of Letters Received
60
*A nice, round number

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (not edited for content)
“Have you”
*Have we what? HAVE WE WHAT?!?!?!

Actually Helpful Tip
The many, MANY tips about how to make rice at home.
*This ain’t our first rice rodeo, but we thank you all for your tips.
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OK, bye,
The Fork