Big Taste Calgary starts tomorrow. It’s a food festival where restaurants provide a special meal for a set price. I’d like to go out. There’s just one catch: I’m on a strict low-sodium diet. Chefs cook with salt. What to do?
I miss going out. Not that I ever did it a lot, but being able to do so without worrying about the repercussions was nice. For the past several years, since I’ve had to follow a low-sodium diet because of my bum liver, I’ve gone out very rarely. Restaurant food is salty, or saltier than my body is used to. Overnight, that “pregnancy” I’ve talked about before can move into the next trimester. I miss pizza and Chinese food and a good grilled cheese sandwich. But I don’t want to be the pain-in-the-ass patron who asks for accommodations. Chefs don’t appreciate your tampering with their cooking, and I don’t blame them.
J. has learned to go out with friends to alleviate her salt-deprivation–she loves a good Chinese lunch buffet or the occasional chicken wing indulgence. When I’m out of town, she stocks the house with potato chips, salty cheeses, and sausages to share with the dog, but she ends up in salt overload before the weekend is up and throws a lot out. I’ve ruined her palate for salt altogether.
J. has graciously accommodated my low-sodium diet at home. We have become educated on salt content of foods. Bet you didn’t know that swiss chard is loaded with sodium. Occasionally, I wander the aisles at the grocery store in search of new lower-sodium options, which remain few and far between, despite all the talk in the news about Canadians’ high sodium consumption. Someday I may be able to buy a low-sodium frozen dinner, but not yet.
Rarely, I indulge. For my 50th birthday, I insisted on restaurant pizza instead of the lame approximation we make at home. And when we’re on vacation, we have to eat out more, so J. and I will often share meals. She agrees to half to stay skinny but I do it to halve the sodium. We always rent a place with a kitchen so we can eat a few meals in every day. I just have to.
But I sure miss restaurants. Maybe this week I’ll go out like everybody else in town, just for fun. I anticipate that this is how my conversation with J. will go:
Me: Where would you like to go?
J.:I don’t know. What do you feel like?
Me: I’ll eat anything. I just want the night off.
J.: How about Indian?
Me: I’d love it. You’ve been talking about Mango Shiva for a while.
[Pause for internet menu check.]
J.: That will be too salty. What [leftover home-cooked low-sodium pot pie/casserole/stew/soup] do we have in the freezer?
Me: I don’t care about salt. I just want to go out.
J.: I’m tired [from talking about this for the last half hour]. Let’s just eat in. I’ll make _________ [salad/poached eggs/fill in the blank].
Me: [Sullenly] Okay.