Feb 11, 2007

Perfect in Salt, Perfect in Soda

by Marsha Ward

Today I'd like to share a short essay I wrote several years ago, because I'm feeling so buoyed up after Sunday Services.

During one period of my parents' married life, my father was seriously ill, and our family existed on a small pension and my mother's wages as a laundry presser. This was a difficult time for Momma, because she wanted to feed her family of seven children in the healthiest possible way. She also wanted to keep the commandment to put away a year's supply of food storage against worse times. At the same time, she struggled to teach us the principle of perfection found in 2 Nephi 25:23, that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, "after all we can do."

At one point, Momma read a newspaper article about a company's offer to compute a family's nutritional needs and provide healthy menu suggestions, working from the income of that family and the number of family members. She sent in the required information. Back came the answer: "It is not possible to feed a family of your size nutritionally on the income you have available."

After she recovered from the shock and despair this message brought, Momma redoubled her offorts to provide healthy meals with her limited means. She studied nutrition and Southwestern cooking and invented new ways of using old standbys: noodles, cheese, tortillas, pinto beans, inexpensive organ meats, and vegetables. She baked bread using tomato juice. She pioneered skillet dinners. She also found a way to make efforts in the area of food storage.

Unable to buy the larger-cost items such as wheat, milk, and honey, Momma calculated what amounts of salt and baking soda would be needed for a year's supply for our family. Then, meticulously saving a few pennies from each paycheck, she bought salt and baking soda, one box at a time. She put away these elements of a year's supply by small steps, and also showed her family how to achieve such perfection as we mortals can attain alone: she was perfect in salt, perfect in soda.

Copyright 1996 Marsha Ward


  1. Perfect in salt, perfect in soda. What a powerful final phrase. This, while doing what was deemed impossible by nutritional gurus.

    This is a lovely little story, one that needs to be included in lesson manuals. May I use it? Don't know when or where, but there will come a time.

  2. Marsha,
    What a touching story. I love the example of doing the best you can with what you have. What a resourceful mother you had. I love getting these little glimpses of where you came from and who you are. Thanks!

  3. This is a wonderful essay. I can imagine it was a scary time for your family but what an incredible mother - Perfect in salt, perfect in soda - you do the best you can with what you have. Can I use this in a presentation I'm giving this weekend on depression?Rene


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