Owl Meat seems to feel a little negative about his guest post today -- at least he calls it "subdued," which of course means that I love it. (OK, I did have to kill out the photo of Johnny Cash dressed as Barnabas.) Here's the Owl Man. EL
"You don't win friends with salad.
– Homer Simpson"
My mother's salad was a monument to consumer choice and refrigerated long-haul trucking. Her salad-palooza was hewn of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, radishes, mushrooms, olives, celery, croutons, molly bolts, shiny rocks, and root beer bottle caps. It was a tribute to year-round produce, a nutritious shotgun blast of freedom of choice gone wild. ...
In my salad days when I was green in judgment, I traveled to Italy, France, Catalina, Russia, a ranch, and the Thousand Islands with my pals Caesar, Paul Newman, and the Green Goddess.
It was her dream of hope for her children wrought in raw vegetables. So many choices. How could a boy decide? That may explain my five college majors and my reputed fear of commitment.
Yes, I blame salad. Children shouldn't have that many choices. Permissive salad-parenting is perhaps the greatest danger to the youth of tomorrow since lawn darts, acid-washed jeans, and Hugh Jackman. Wolverine!
Now I am a salad minimalist. When confronted with a tossed beast with many ingredients, I eat it one item at a time.
The ginormous Happy Hour salad at Amicci's ($5) goes like this: First, two black olives. Then, strips of grilled chicken. Then, a bite of cucumber and red onion; repeat until both are gone. Then I stare at the pepperoncini and hot cherry pepper. Sometimes they win, sometimes I win. Finally, I attack the lettuce, an arduous task of fork hunting and pecking, stabbing at romaine spine for a forkful of slaughtered cos. Senatus Populus Que Romanus!
Free yourself from the hegemony of the American super power salad. Try a more Zen salad. Pour your best olive oil in a bowl with a little fleur de sel or sea salt. Toss Boston or Bibb lettuce. Sprinkle on balsamic vinegar. Toss again. A perfect combination of four complex flavors. Salad shouldn't be a vulgar dumping ground for the hubris of a wealthy nation. It should be a work of flavor-art for the mouth and soul.
Salad bars? No. Just no. They are like a key party for germs.
Salad nightmare: Chicken Liver Salad Dressing and Pork Apple Salad.
In my vintage cookbook collection I have the Maxwell House Coffee Cookbook. It's amazing how many recipes benefit from instant coffee. The recipe for duck marinated in instant coffee and toothpaste was delicious, but the coffee-lemon salad dressing was a bit underwhelming:
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup salad oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons instant quality coffee
Suggested listening: "Poke Salad Annie."
Ever think about having a salad to help you sleep? Maybe you should. Lactucarium is an opiate found in all types of lettuce. Ancient Romans and Egyptians served lettuce at the end of a meal to nudge diners toward the silky embrace of Hypnos and Morpheus.
If this post is a bit subdued, perhaps it's because I've been eating salad for a month and I can't stop. I've got a lettuce monkey on my back. His name is Opie.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)