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April 22, 2024

On Salads

By Dan Mulhollen

I have never been a huge fan of salads; those mostly green, leafy side dishes that are usually so bland that they require a good dose of dressing to be palatable.

In many ways I find the dressings to be the best part. There is a nice variety of dressings, many named after countries; French, Italian, Russian. Although rarely are these the actual country of origin (Russian is something of an anachronism nowadays, simply being French with catchup added for that deep Soviet red color). Thousand Island may invoke visions of the south Pacific, but I believe it was named after a hotel.

A Greek salad is pretty authentic, and with its olives and feta cheese is somewhat more tolerable, and a glass of Ouzo is a very nice accompaniment (although I've noticed people are as divided on the topic of Ouzo as they are on the topic of Salads.)

Of course add anything else (seafood or pasta for instance), or base them from things other than leafy vegetables (such as tuna or fruit) and you have a completely different dish and if this were a fair world would be called something other than a salad.

Garden salads are in themselves misnomers. I've walked around my yard several times and have never seen much in the way salad fixings. There is of course a lot of grass. Then you have weeds and dandelions (which I consider an upper class of weeds). Some people do use dandelions as a salad ingredient. I believe that as a child I did pull one or two up and chew on it. The flavor was not the greatest.

Far better back then was the small peppermint patch on the side of the house. I used to pick off leaves for an easy snack. My father would pull up a handful and dump them into a cooling pitcher of iced tea. The peppermint is still there, but its flavor has declined over the passing decades. And I'm not sure how many salad/dressing combinations would be benefited by that minty fresh taste anyway.

Every year about this time, a few crocus sprout up in what once was a small ornamental garden in between the front yard and the porch. Now I have no idea if crocus are even edible -- and have no desire to find out.

I am philosophical, though, about eating salads. I see them as the karmic price we pay for eating a good meal. Into everyone's life, a little healthiness must come.

Article © Dan Mulhollen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2008-03-17
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