Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Grain of Salt

We were on our first Wegmans run of the Buffalo weekend when an older gentleman in a motorized cart rolled up. "Excuse me ladies," he said, "I'm hoping you can help me."

"Of course," I replied, and prepared to reach an item from the upper shelf behind him, I was surprised when he continued.

"My daughter gave me a pot of chicken chowder," he made a circle with his hands. "Her neighbor was nice enough to make it for me, but it's so bland..."

I nodded sympathetically.

"She is a chef!" My mother-in-law pointed at me. "This is your lucky day!"

He nodded, unimpressed. "I added pepper to it," he said, "but it didn't help. And," he paused before delivering the kicker, "I'm on dialysis, so I can't have salt."

The mystery of the bland soup was suddenly much easier to understand.

"The soup part is like water, so I was thinking of adding bouillon or canned chicken broth," he said. "Would that fix it?"

"Those both have a lot of salt," I told him, considering a variety of solutions-- herbs, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and trying to figure out the best match for him. "Maybe you could strain out all the chicken and vegetables and cook the broth down until it's more concentrated and flavorful. Then add the other stuff back in."

He frowned. "Would I have to cook canned chicken broth?"

"No," I shrugged. "It's ready to heat and eat."

 "Thank you," he said politely, and then giving us a courtly nod, rolled away down the aisle toward the canned soup.

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