A Look On The Lighter Side: Salt versus Sugar, the ultimate sweetstakes!

A Look On The Lighter Side: Salt versus Sugar, the ultimate sweetstakes!

Sugar and Salt were having an argument. “You know I’m better,” said Sugar. “Everyone wants me. Everyone loves me! When did anyone ever send a Valentine with a box of saltines?”

“What about that Valentine treat Judy’s husband just sent her?” retorted Salt. “A box of pretzels! She certainly enjoyed those.”

“That’s only because they were covered in dark chocolate, as you very well know,” replied Sugar.

“Well, I’m a basic necessity,” said Salt. “So basic that “salt” is the root of the word “salary” — because that’s how the Roman Empire paid their soldiers: with me!”

Oh yeah?” retorted Sugar. “Well, Wikipedia has its doubts about that whole story.”

“And what does Wikipedia say about nursery rhymes? Like the one about ‘What little girls are made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.” Sugar — not salt.

“And is there a rhyme about boys?”

Sugar smirked a bit as she continued reciting: “ ‘Snips and snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of.’ Ugh, ugh, and double ugh — but still, no salt!”

“Well, who bases their self-worth on a nursery rhyme, anyway?” replied Salt.

“Stop this bickering!” I said. “Can’t you two get along?” But there was only one thing they could both agree on — that I would have to referee their debate.

The thing was, whichever of them I decided against would probably sulk and refuse to let me use them as a seasoning, all year. The stakes were high.

This could, in fact, be the ultimate “sweetstakes.” I mean sweepstakes.

“So how am I supposed to decide between you?” I asked them. “You’re both so important to me!”

“Yeah, but I’m the one that’s essential,” said Salt. “What do we say when somebody is real, and authentic? We say they’re ‘the salt of the earth.’ Whereas sweets are merely a frill.”

“I guess that decides it, then, I said, reluctantly. “It’s true, the doctors always say keep up the fluids and electrolytes like salt when you’re sick. They don’t say the same about sugar.”

“So maybe Salt will save your life,” said Sugar. “But without me, will it be worth living?”

“The only way to have peace,” I told them, “is to keep each of you to your appointed part of the menu. Like the two strictly segregated sides of a black and white cookie. Salt, you get the main course; sugar, you get dessert. And never the twain shall meet!”

“But wait!” they said, together, as I prepared to leave the table where we had all been sitting. “There’s surely more to this whole matter than that?”

“Like what?” I said.

“Like, what about your favorite Thai foods, like Pad Thai noodles, or chicken satay? They both have that delicious peanut sauce that’s both sweet and salty; you don’t have any problem with that.”

“That’s foreign food — it doesn’t change the domestic rules.”

“Okay, what about your friends who put salt on watermelon?”

“That’s just wrong,” I said.

“Yeah, we gotta agree there,” Salt and Sugar said, together.

There was an extended silence until I started to clear the table.

“Hey,” said Sugar. “What’s that you’ve got in your hand?”

“It’s vinegar, for the salad.”

“But not just any vinegar,” said Salt, in a follow-up question. “It’s balsamic, isn’t it?”


“The one your kids started using because they said it was ‘the sweet one’?”
“Well, yes.”

“So you’re violating our agreement yourself? Unless salad is suddenly a dessert entry?”

They had me there.

There was a triumph in Salt’s voice as he asked one final question: “What about that Salted Caramel drink your son bought you at Starbucks? Was that a ‘category error?’ An ‘abomination?’ or was it…”

“Delicious! Yes, you win,” I told them. “BOTH of you. I’ll just have to hand you the victory, together.”

Because as it turns out, life is not like a black and white cookie, after all. It’s more like a cookie with a Yin and Yang design on the top, with a little dot of the opposite, in the middle of each flavor. Sweet things sometimes need a dash of salt, and vice versa, to bring out the best of each.

“There!” I said, to my spices. “Was that so hard?”

“Not really.” And they joined hands and jumped together into the marinade for that night’s teriyaki.

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