In ancient Egypt, classical Greece, and the Near East salt was readily obtainable, and fish was salted to dry it from early times, as well as being preserved in brine. In medieval Europe stockfish was a major food, and was the subject of considerable trade. The name, originally a German word, was a general one for any dried white fish, most often cod, but also pollack, whiting, hake, and others. These might be dried with or without salt, although the modern usage of the term ‘stockfish’ is for an unsalted kind only. salt cod is the prime example of the salted kind.