On Saturday evening, knowing that fun and exciting 20-something-style plans were not going to materialize out of the void, I decided to go on a quest for agar flakes–a weird health food item that I was going to use to make myself some pudding. I was browsing the aisles of a family-owned, local health food store, lusting after the various overpriced dark chocolate bars, when I came across a bag of seaweed salad in the refrigerated section. Having previously ordered (and enjoyed) seaweed salads as an appetizer at sushi restaurants, I thought this could be fun. Perhaps not a great complement to pudding, but whatever–wine will help it all fit together. I purchased said seaweed (and agar flakes) and walked to my car.
With hunger and a misguided sense of adventure flashing across my eyes, I ripped open the plastic bag and barbarically took some seaweed and shoved it into my mouth–not unlike the dinosaurs in Fantasia. My eyes immediately widened with terror–again, like the dinosaurs.
“Holy salt, Batman!” were the actual words that came out of my algae-filled mouth as my tongue began to wither. Before I could even register the ridiculousness of what I had just said, I grabbed the bag and scanned the back: “Seaweed is packed with salt to preserve freshness. Before eating, rinse and let soak for three minutes.” You mean those little white dots all over the tendrils WEREN’T just delicious seaweed debris?
Well, shit. I flung open my car door and emptied my mouth of this salted sea fungus while making cartoon-like spitting noises. Before anyone could notice the pile of compost, I drove off.
Have you ever just straight up eaten salt or gnawed at a salt lick like a mutant deer-human hybrid? This shit will seriously sucker-punch your innards. My esophagus was trying to get rid of the salty runoff that sneaked past my tongue by pushing it down to my stomach, but my stomach really did not want to have to deal with that. I kind of wanted to cry, but I was afraid that would upset my saline balance.
But throughout this I remained optimistic about my upcoming dinner. I am going to make a fancy seaweed salad! It is going to be healthy, but taste awesome! I’m just impatient, and I’m being punished for it. That’s fine. I deserve it.
When I arrived home, I emptied the bag of green mush into a bowl and rinsed, as per the instructions, while trying to massage the salt out with my fingertips. I then let that green lump sit for five minutes in clean water, followed by at least three more rinsing attempts. Satisfied that I cleaned the seaweed far more thoroughly than I ever clean my hair, I tentatively tasted one of the flaccid green tendrils. It didn’t taste salty, but it also didn’t taste good. It kind of tasted like ick, which is a taste you can recognize if you’ve had it before.
Disappointment flooded over me. I had wasted four dollars–money that could have been spent on a fancy schmancy chocolate bar that helps save endangered animals. Instead, I had raped the sea of its greenery, and I only had a mediocre dinner to show for it.
And then a cartoon lightbulb appeared over my head. You know what makes everything better? Soy sauce! Clearly that’s what I’m missing! With Cocktail-style flourish, I grabbed the nearest soy sauce bottle and drowned my salad in the brown elixir.
The salad, even with the soy sauce, tasted like such ick that I shoveled it down my gullet as fast as I could. Though I tried to distract myself with the latest episode of Community, I noticed the immediate effect this feast had on my body. Forced into action by a power beyond my control, I robotically stood up, filled my water bottle, and lied on my bed, making noises that a salted snail would make if it could make noises.
And then the horror movie-style stomach cramps began…
(Not for nothing, but agar flakes make pretty badass puddings–so it wasn’t a total loss).