Gee, your trash smells terrific.

Tonight, I left work at a shockingly early 5:35pm. I dashed home, thinking I’d have just enough time to whip together a gourmet meal and still make it to our 8pm co-op meeting on time. Sure, there’re yesterday's leftovers in the fridge, but I had a free hour and a bright bunch of rainbow chard! It would be churlish not to cook! Churlish, I say!

Once in the door, I diced onions and minced garlic and chiffonaded chard. I boiled water and threw in some whole-wheat pasta. I danced around the kitchen to Peter, Bjorn, and John. I readied half a cup of dry white wine and diced up some leftover roasted tomatoes.

“Maybe this one won’t be spectacular enough to blog about,” I thought, “but at least I get to use the chard. And how delighted Nick will be to not get stuck with a Lean Cuisine!” (which has become the standard co-op meeting night dinner.) I seasoned my vegetables. I seasoned my pasta water. I thought about how chefs say “seasoned” instead of “salted” and how very chef-like I was for using the proper terminology. Proud of my chef-ness, I boldly tossed everything together and added a generous blizzard of parmeggiano. And then I tasted it. Really salty. Too salty. Lip-curdling salty. It tasted like the ocean, solidified.

This meal was in critical condition, but I'm not one to panic (total lie. I am SO one to panic.) I set about doctoring, adding more wine and some lemon. But you can’t desalinate pure salt. Even if you use the word “season.” And that old wives tale about throwing in a peeled potato in to soak up salt? What a load of grade-A bunk. Who the hell are these old wives, anyway, spreading around that kind of hogwash? I want that job.

I tried everything to save my gorgeous rainbow chard and pasta, everything, but it was D.O.A. Into the trash it went, although it still smelled so delicious, so very delicious. This is the first time I've had to toss a failed cooking project. It was a blow to my ego. And Nick got stuck with a Lean Cuisine. Which was underseasoned, just so you know.