Light and Salt

Do you know how the Egyptians and other ancient peoples stopped their little oil lamps from smoking?

Once the linen wick was lit, they put salt into the olive oil — or the wick itself was salted, which retards charring.

So there’s a thematic connection between “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”…. 🙂

There are a surprising amount of pages on the web about home oil lamps. Apparently, olive oil really is a pretty good fuel (more efficient than candles) as long as you keep the oil shallow (like ancient oil lamps). It’s got that high flashpoint that’s so handy in cooking, so it’s hard to set things on fire with it. You can even use canning jars to be your temporary olive oil lamps in an emergency, which is pretty much maximum light and plenty of room to hold it by. (Shallow oil in the bottom, lots of jar at the top.)

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