nothing can prepare you for new salt.

Salt is easy. Yeah, right? It’s just salt. It makes things salty. That’s all it is. How complicated could it be?

You have your own salt at home. You know it like the back of your hand. You know exactly how much of it to put on anything to make it sing to your palate. In the unceasing chaos and uncertainty of life, you can trust your salt.

Or so you think.

Then you run out of salt. And let me tell you this: salt is like toilet paper. You don’t really realize how important it is until it’s gone. Then you’re in trouble.

For a few weeks days you live in denial. I’m sure there’s more salt somewhere in here. You rummage through the cupboards while cooking, to no avail. You settle for the blandest meal of your life with the sole consolation that you’re supposedly doing your heart a favor.

But, hell, you’re twenty-something, your heart is strong, and it screams for salt.

Soy sauce won’t cut it. The salty leftover pickles brine won’t cut it. The mini packets of salt stashed from takeaways won’t cut it.

One day you finally venture out to purchase salt. You cannot find it in the supermarket you’ve been going to for years. Where are they hiding it? You know where the hot sauce is, you know where the one type of greens you can tolerate is, you know where the good wine is. Where is the salt, though?

Next to the toilet paper, that’s where. I kid you not. Remember what I told you about salt and toilet paper? You should’ve known.

You cannot find your previous salt. You don’t even remember which one it was. It was pink Himalayan salt, but you’re kinda over the fad now, so you decide you’re going to cook like an Italian grandma with coarse sea salt. It’s just salt after all…

…right?

Yeah…

You return home to your bland, bland, bland pot of whatever you had made foolishly thinking it could do without salt. It’s redemption time. You haven’t tasted salt in weeks, so you’re not thinking straight. You’re pouring straight from the bag, like a savage. You stir the pot. Still bland. But also, the salt is still undissolved. You don’t think much of it at the time. You pour more salt and listen to the crystal swishing against the walls of the pot, still blissfully ignorant. You stir and stir and stir. Then you taste it and oh my God it tastes like the actual sweat of Poseidon. (It is sea salt after all. Sorry.) You realize the half-melted crystals will soon saltify the dish even more. You’ve awoken to your error, but it’s too late. You are now facing a potful of pure saltwater.

At least now it’s not bland.

When this happens and you realize that you cannot trust anything in this life, not even salt (not even yourself), take a deep breath, dilute it with some fresh water, then carry on with your meal.

And next time, put a little less salt.

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