Saturday, May 09, 2009

Are you my mother?

What should I have said to the woman who stopped me at the grocery store the other day to chastise me about the contents of my basket? My basket contained tomatoes, lettuce, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and pretzel rolls. Pretzel rolls, for the uninitiated, have salt on the surface. They are delicious.

Salt* is one of my favorite seasonings after cumin and ras al hanout. I don't get that much salt, though, because I make almost all our food from scratch -- I am such a better cook than Kraft and Sara Lee -- and in scratch cooking, you don't use that much salt. I'd use more but SH is a salt-phobe.

There are some things I can't cook, though. We have to go to New Orleans for oysters. Oysters for SH. I think they taste like snot. Like I imagine snot would taste. I am not in the habit of eating snot.

I am trying to reduce my taste for salt. I have been for the past 15 years. I got desensitized when I was in Chile, where they salted the heck out of everything. Salt is the only seasoning used in Chilean cooking. During our three months of Peace Corps training, we begged them to cut the salt in the cafeteria food but they wouldn't. One day, the lunch was so salty we couldn't eat it. Everyone threw their lunch in the trash and bought cheese and avocado sandwiches from the cheese and avocado sandwich stand instead.

Anyhow. This woman comes up to me, looks at my pretzel rolls and says, "You shouldn't eat salt!"

Nor can I make pho.

Any time I read Miss Manners tell people how to deal with unwanted questions and advice, I think, "Yeah! I can't wait to use her idea!" But then I don't think of it. Here was my perfect opportunity to say, "I beg your pardon!" in a stiff tone, turn and walk away with injured dignity.

Instead, I said, "I like salt!"

New Orleans.

"It's bad for you," she admonished me.

I shrugged. "So I die at 96** instead of 98," I said. "Big deal."

More oysters.

Then she told me about her brother-in-law's smoking and her father's drinking and on and on and I'm thinking Lord have mercy what am I doing here how do I always get into these messes why don't I listen to Miss Manners?

More New Orleans.

* Especially snob salt.

** Or 95. When I am 90, or maybe 80, I intend to start smoking, drinking heavily, and playing cards. I will also have butter on my toast every single day. Ha.


LPC said...

That woman was wildly rude. You are off the hook. However pho is not too hard to make.

Anonymous said...

I was recently introduced to pho & LOVE it!!! Have you found a good place in Milwaukee to get it? White-Chocolate

TosaGuy said...

I can usually find some glass in such a person's house and toss their rock right back at them.

Its people like her that are making Tosa a less fun place to live. Damn neopuritans.

class-factotum said...

LPC, isn't the trick finding the right seasonings for the broth? We have a Vietnamese grocery down the street. Maybe they have a mix.

WC, we have tried a few places, but don't really like them as much as our neighborhood pho place in Memphis. Yes, Memphis. Go figure. (Refugee resettlement area for Catholic Relief Services - the guy who did our pre-marital counseling is Vietnamese.)

TG -- maybe this lady was from Brookfield?