The Sodium Diet

Michael Vail ‘24

Reporter Prodigy, Looking to Serve a Cause Greater Than Himself

Hot Dog, 440.3 grams of sodium. 2,446% of daily value.

Buffalo Chicken, 802.3 grams of sodium. 4,457% daily value.

Pork Ribs, 3,251.1 grams of sodium. 18,062% daily value.

All of the above statistics were taken from the official Kimball menu. Concerning? That was my initial impression as well. But as I am the most reliable reporter on campus, I needed to delve just a little deeper into the details to learn the truth behind these disturbing facts.

Last week, I spoke with the head chef of Kimball Main Dining Room, who told me, “I don’t know what I’m putting in the food. I’ve only ever used a microwave, and not even that since I set fire to my dorm room. I’m here on work-study.” He then referred me to the school nutritionist (a position I did not know existed) and went back to his half-eaten grilled chicken, which he had broken three plastic forks trying to eat.

“What is the deal with all the sodium?” I inquired at my scheduled meeting with the school nutritionist, who requested not to be named for liability purposes. We’ll call him John Doe. Or John, for short. He wore a typical suit of a businessman, one that exhibited prestige and experience, yet still carried a “clearance” tag on the sleeve. I didn’t point it out. I needed to be on John’s good side to arrive at the truth.

John looked up at me, not quite meeting my eyes. “Y’see, the thing about salt is that it’s a preservative, my boy. Ya know how long the food sits out there before someone comes along and eats it?” He then stared straight at me and spoke sternly. “A long time. Ya don’t want spoiled meat, do ya?”

“No sir.”

“Or spoiled milk?”

“No sir.”

“Exactly. Who does? So, y’see, we put salt in them. Keeps them fresh, if not a bit dry. Oh, and didja know what else?”

I waited a moment. “Um, sir, what else?”

John dissociated a few more seconds. “Don’t interrupt, boy. As I was saying, the salt is good for ya. We sweat so much throughout the day because we got too much moisture, y’see. That chicken ya always call ‘dry’ and ‘comparable to cardboard’ is saving yer life. If there were no salt, it wouldn’t dry up, and the moisture would be too much for yer brittle bones.”

Image courtesy of Dining Services

He gestured to his arms and noticed the tag on his sleeve. For the first time, he lost his composure and crossed his arms to hide it.

“Who knows how that got there, right?” John nervously chuckled.

“Must have gotten mixed up at the laundromat,” I suggested.

“Right you are, my boy.”

I ate at Kimball at around 1:00 pm the next day, the busiest time of lunch, enjoying my food significantly more after discovering the benefits it brought our community. As I was exiting the dining hall, I heard a girl ask, “Does anyone know where the salt is?”

“Everywhere,” I responded.

And everybody stood up and cheered.

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