Monday, December 18, 2006


A year ago, I bought fancy salt.
I did not need fancy salt--I just needed some NaCl. But I was at Trader Joe's, and while I love TJ's, they aren't so practical with the household staples. Hand-knitted mango licorice ropes? Check. Ground ostrich in pre-made patties? Check. Baking soda? No dice.
But salt is salt, right? Even at 3.99 a pound?
What I bought was sea salt in a tall blue container. It had a lighthouse on the front. Great, I figured. I need salt, and I have a chance to see what the fuss about gourmet salt is all about.
Why I paid 3.99 a pound I have no idea. I guess I really needed it.

Got the salt home. Opened the top. Poured some into the soup or biscuits or trek mix or whatever it was I was making.
Well, everything except for that last action.
The salt didn't pour. The blue container the stuff came in had one of those swivel salt openings--you know the kind, with the four-option feature: Salt Shaker Holes, Pour Option, Larger Pour Option, and Shut.
Shut worked fine. It was everything else that malfunctioned.
Before this time, I didn't realize salt could malfunction.
Believe me, it can.
See, this was fancy Sea Salt. From the sea, see? And so it was moist. Moist is sticky.
Being Clever Pete, I decided to help the salt dehumidify.
My in-laws use sea salt, and they put rice grains in the saltshaker to help pull out moisture. Sort of like those little silicone packs I find tucked away into new purses and vitamins (why purses and vitamins need the same silicone pack is a topic for another post).
I fed rice grains (brown basmati, also from Trader Joe's) into the Larger Pour Option opening. Two at a time. In a day, I figured, I'd have pourable salt.
No such luck. Now I had sticky salt with grains of rice mixed in.
To get any salt out of the dumb container required a vigorous arm throw. Very vigorous. And the blue salt container was sealed (no Twist Off Lid Option). So I couldn't put it into another container, because to do so would require me to get the salt out of the blue container, which was the whole problem in the first place!!!!

I am kind of an odd mix of stingy and spendthrift. I was willing to pay for Fancy Salt, but once it malfunctioned, I was not willing to throw it away.
So we had phantom rice grains in our food and baked goods for a while. And my throwing arm improved.

Then our regular salt shaker (the one we put on the table) ran out of regular salt.
By this time, the Useless Blue Container was about half empty. It got easier to get salt out of it.
So of course I filled the saltshaker with the sticky salt.
Makes sense, right? Useless salt should be spread around to make life as difficult as possible. And it hastened the demise of the Useless Blue Container. In theory.

Dyami noticed the deteriorating salt situation and came home with regular salt from Henry's.
Now we have three salt containers, only one of which really works well. Does it surprise you it's the one Dyami bought?
The Useless Blue Container is nearly empty. It's almost easy to get salt (and rice) out of it now.
Maybe when it's empty I'll pour the salt from the table shaker back into the Blue Container. Just to have everything make sense.

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