Salt of the Earth04 Apr 2013
One of the cool things about 30 years of marriage (yes, it's going to be THIRTY YEARS this September) is that it's still possible after all that time to discover minuscule areas where you have irreconcilable differences. Or maybe "re-discover" is the better word, since for all we know we already knew all the things that annoy us about our partner but had conveniently forgotten them.
Take, for instance, salt. My mother is a health-conscious nurse, so even in the '70s when I was growing up we didn't eat a lot of salt. She always cooked with a herbal mixture to replace salt. I never got in the habit of adding salt at the table, and don't think of a salt shaker as an essential piece of cutlery.
My wife, on the other hand, will salt everything, often without tasting it first (especially if I have cooked it). She gets nervous if she sits at the table and there is not a salt shaker within reach. We sometimes have 3 or 4 salt shakers on the table at one time, since she often brings one to the table herself to make sure there's one there. And by my observation, her use of salt is moderate compared to some in her family and in Germany in general. I sometimes think that the heavy use of salt can so deaden the taste buds that one forgets food can have taste other than salt.
So when my nutrition class mentioned that cutting down on salt was not only healthy, but good for weight loss, I had no problems putting that into effect for myself. It however opened up a new source of conflict. I would cook a healthy dish without salt, my wife would grimace and reach for the salt shaker, I would roll my eyes, and our entertainment was guaranteed for the rest of the meal.
Some peace has been restored to our household through the use of a salt substitute (which, strangely enough, is sold by the publisher of the nutrition class). It's based on potassium chloride, and tastes something like chicken soup.
It doesn't work that well at the table, though. The last time my wife asked me to pass the salt (which I had conveniently placed at the opposite end of the table from her), I instead handed her a newspaper article with the headline "Millions of deaths from excessive salt consumption". Just my way of saying I love you, honey! (And after she threw the newspaper in my face, I handed her the salt.)