This story is from a dinner party I hosted before the pandemic. I invited 6 folks and shortly after the invites were sent I received a call from Sally.
Sally (not her real name) advised me that she was now on a salt-free diet due to medical reasons. She advised that at home she cooked without any salt and gave me a speech about how wonderful salt-free life was.
I was skeptical and advised her that I would personally find it difficult to give up all salt. Was she sure she wasn't just on a low sodium diet?
Sally advised that unless her dish was salt-free she wouldn't be attending. While telling her no was an option, I'm not that person (see my previous malicious compliance). I was pissed off at Sally for years of being difficult at the dinner table and restaurants. Trust me, there was always something wrong with her meal, or it's preparation, or the flavor, or the waiter, or....
With a smile so large you could hear it through the phone I assured her that her request for salt-free was 100% going to be accommodated.
On the dinner night I prepped the meal. Sally was getting the same thing as everything else with one critical difference. All of her food was prepped in separate containers, baked on separate racks, and seasoned with exactly the same flavors sans salt.
Dinner time and my guest arrive. I have all of Sally's food plated on white plates. Everyone else gets grey plates.
First round: Appetizers. Fried calamari with a lemon jalapeno butter sauce. This dish typically has salt in both the batter and the sauce. As Sally couldn't have that, I battered her calamari in salt-free seasonings and flour. Her condiment looked exactly the same but was made with unsalted butter and no added salt.
I place Sally's plate in front of her first and she immediately states she asked for salt-free. I assure her that her dish is salt-free and I made sure to cook hers separate and even use a different colored plate to keep it straight.
We all sit to talk and enjoy the squid. Sally takes a bite and makes a face. Mine has no flavor! She exclaims.
All of my other guest tell Sally it's divine, delicious, best they've had, etc. I smile at Sally and assure her that her dish was flavored exactly as everyone else. The only difference is that she received absolutely no salt.
It's at this point that Sally has a moment of clarity. It's painfully obvious on her face. She realizes she can't complain about the lack of salt as she's already told the table about her salt-free life. She also can't claim it tastes terrible if everyone else is raving about the food. She literally looks like she was about to cry at the table.
As my guest enjoy their dinner Sally is slowly doing the toddler plays with her food munch and pushing her calamari around the plate. After a few moments she reaches for the sauce that I made for everyone else.
Sally! Be careful the salt free sauce is in the white bowl. That one has salt.
She mumbles something about wanting to taste the difference before literally dumping the bowl on her calamari. She then exclaims how much better it tasted. You and I know that, of course, things taste better with salt.
So this drama repeated itself over the main course of honey roasted salmon with pine nuts. I also am no heathen and had both salt and pepper on the table for my guest. I'm not going to judge you for needing more flavor. Here we go!
Sally takes a bite of her fish and once again realizes that it has no salt. She reaches for the salt shaker and conversation stops. Another guest asked sally if she was okay with adding salt to her food. She says that she can occasionally have salt. She proceeds to shower her fish with salt sprinkles.
I also baked some cookies for desert. The dough uses a little salt. I made sure to whip up a separate batch of cookies wrapped to go for her. Salt free of course!
When I handed her those cookies the look of defeat that hit her face warmed my heart.
Dinner is over, everyone is happy except for Sally. I called her the next week to make sure she was okay as she's consumed sodium at my party. Sally told me her doctor has removed her sodium restrictions and she won't need that accomodation at future meals. On the phone I congratulate her for her good health. When I hang up I laugh until my sides hurt. Salt-free life apparently doesn't taste good when the salt is actually omitted!!!
Note: To any on a low or no sodium diet for their health- I commend you. Sally, however, wasn't actually on this diet. This is evidenced by her shock at how salt-free food tasted. I confirmed with her husband that she's never stopped using salt at home. Her salt-free claims were a ploy for attention that back-fried tastelessly.
TLDR:. Sally lied and stated she required a salt-free diet. She is defeated and miserable when forced to eat salt-free food.
Common question- why are we friends? Sally is married to one of my best friends. As my friend has elected to stay married to her I have tolerated her. I wouldn't call her a friend but we are where we are.
I'm loving the responses here. I truly empathize with those living with medically restrictive diets. Life is hard enough without that being added into the mix. This is funny and I'm sharing it with Sally's husband. He needs to get some first hand knowledge of all the reasons claiming false dietary restrictions just isn't okay.
And I want to be clear: never tamper with someone's food. This MC worked because no harm could come to Sally.
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