Monday, November 30, 2009
A Mr. Kirk Castile from Clingon Alabama asks....
Dear Mr. Knowitall.. "We don't see too much soap round these parts, whats it all about, and where did it come from"?
Dear Kirk, primitively speaking, soap is oil plus alkali. For centuries that meant fat plus lye. American pioneers saved their fat scraps from cooking. They also saved their ashes from the fireplace. The ashes were then placed in a barrel with a spigot at the bottom. Water poured over the ashes and left to soak would form lye, which was then drained off from the bottom. The cooking fat would be rendered in a separate cooking vat over a fire, then the lye would be added. After much more cooking and stirring, a chemical reaction would take place and soap was the result. Although too much lye and the soap would be harsh, and too much fat would make it greasy. The newly formed soap would then be stored into boxes to harden and cure for several months.
Legend has it that some time around 1000 B.C., the Romans performed many animal sacrifices to the Gods on Mt. Sapo. The fat from the animal sacrifices, then mixed with the ashes from the fire. Over a period of time, this mixture of fat and ash washed down the mountain and into the Tiber River and accumilated in the clay soil. Women washing their clothes by this clay, noticed that the clothing seemed a bit cleaner. The word soap, comes from Mt. Sapo!!
Recipe's for soapmaking were discovered on ancient Sumerian tablets dating back to 2500 B.C. And excavations of ancient Babylon has uncoverd clay cylinders containing a soap-like substance dating to 3000 B.C.
I hope that answers your question Kirk. Do not be afraid to use soap, it is your friend! This weeks post should be titled...Not Enough Information!!
Join us again next week for another exciting episode of..Ask Mr. Knowital.