Thursday, 18 May 2017

Où est la madeleine?

One day last week, as I decanted the final box of Maldon sea salt, an exquisite memory prevailed over me, and at once the monotony of the chore became indifferent to me - the travails of the day innocuous, the grind illusory. This new sensation had on me the effect which fortune has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was myself. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, accidental, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I was conscious that it was connected with the salt, but whence did it come? What did it signify? How could I seize upon and define it?

OK, let’s not over-egg the pudding: I recently decanted some salt. It was the final box from a set of three 250g ‘limited edition’ packets I won back in 2015. Although the prize was one of the most modestly valued items I’ve ever won, its arrival sticks in my mind more than most. Partly that’s because it turned up out of the blue, and partly it’s because I remember remarking how the cost of mailing the best part of a kilo of salt was three times what that salt was actually worth.
salt in a jar adjacent to empty box that contained salt just minutes previously
The salt in question (decanted)
Mostly, however, the prize sticks in mind because salt is such an elemental part of our very existence: our bodies become chemically unbalanced without it, our muscles and nervous system cease to function and, well, I guess we die.

To be honest, I consume less salt than I’d like. That’s not a conscious choice; rather, it’s because, like many parents of small children, we cook without it and then fail to season our food as we’re too absorbed in whatever argument we’re having with the aforementioned beasts. That’s why I seize moments to enjoy it as conspicuously as possible. I’m talking super fresh, crusty bread with unsalted butter, a sprinkle of salt flakes and NO INTERRUPTIONS!

But that’s by the by. The important thing is to notice how and remember that even the smallest of prizes can touch you on an absolutely fundamental level - in my case, the absorption of an essential daily mineral for somewhere in the region of 24 months (and counting).

Or, to look at it another way, two years of literally seasoning my meals with lucky dust.

Small wins are great! Which ones have been your favourite? Did any change your life?!


  1. What a super win! I remember stocking up on Maldon salt when they had a restaurant prize for entering codes. None of my codes where winning codes but the salt lasted ages! I think physical products stick in the memory far better than prize money and feel like they're worth more. I'm loving the little instagram wins of cereal bars, protein bars etc lately as they all make lovely snacks that I really enjoy even though not of major value. thank you for all the tags on instagram - really appreciate it. I did have a massive 1kg jar of protein powder that I'm passing to my brother as it's just too much for me and the rest of my family don't like it. Besides I'm still working my way through another similar one that I won a few months back. It does remind me of something i read on your blog about winning loads on protein bars on instagram and it always makes me smile when i see those giveaways.

    1. You know, I'm not even sure what protein powder is! I just look at it and think, you know what, I've already got two years' worth of winter blubber to shift - I can't imagine that protein shakes are going to be much help - am I wrong?

      Instagram is the go-to place for compers looking for whey & cereal bars isn't it? - I'll definitely send some more tags your way :D