This post just got away from me, I admit it

Those of you who know me are no doubt aware of my feelings towards salad. As a youth, my appetite was what I liked to think of as “discriminating” (and what my mother would probably call “stubbornly picky”). Either way, my list of acceptable foods was pretty short; consisting of three basic groups: sugar (e.g. cookies, candy, frosted flakes), processed foods (hot dogs, mac & cheese, bologna, wonder bread, cheetos), and anything messy or likely to stain clothing (jell-o, chocolate pudding, kool-aid, popsicles). Salad was a “non-food” for me, and I would rather eat a bowl full of garden mulch than anything containing lettuce.

Anyway, I was out with the GF eating dinner last night and I got to thinking about salads. Mainly because she ordered a salad and was told that despite the menu’s assurances, it did not actually come with carrots. When the GF asked why there were no carrots, the very pleasant waiter said they were out. At that point (smelling a cover-up) I jumped into the conversation, asking “Is it because they start fights?”. The waiter looked at me a little oddly whereas the GF, who had already figured out I was in one of my puckish moods, let me hound the waiter into confessing that yes, carrots had indeed been banned from the premises for starting fights with the oranges. The reason being that the oranges had been moving in on the carrots’ turf as the “splash of orange color” of the moment in respected salad-serving establishments nationwide.

This got me thinking about how when I was a kid, a salad consisted of iceberg lettuce with thousand island dressing, and maybe either carrots or tomatoes for color. And as far as I knew that was the only way salads came. Kind of like in the suburbs of Eisenhower’s America where all families were white, nuclear with 2.2 kids and the mom and dad slept in separate twin beds a la Ozzie and Harriet. Dad worked, mom stayed at home with the kids, and the Beaver was always getting in trouble. It was dull, but predictable. But then towards the end of the 20th century, all sorts of other stuff started showing up in salads. Things I had never heard of – fancy lettuces like Arugula, Galactic (which I have learned is not from space, but actually from Italy), and Radicchio; fruits like apples, grapes, and oranges; non-plant products like chicken, shrimp and cheese; and all sorts of new and interesting dressings (“Paul Newman’s dressing in aisle twelve!? Can’t he do that at home? It’s indecent, I tell you…”).

Naturally, since there were now so many new and interesting ingredients available, people moved away from their basic staples, and I guess I was postulating whether iceberg lettuce, carrots, cabbage, and thousand island were a little bitter about it. And, to me it seemed like a perfectly reasonable theory that the carrots resented the intrusion of all the other ingredients (“They took ‘r’ jobs!!!”) and rose up in random acts of violence – just like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

We have to convince them that America is a better place because of all the variety folks. It just tastes better. So tell all your elected carrots screaming bloody murder about how the different ingredients are ruining American society to settle down a bit. Just because some other ingredients have showed up on the scene doesn’t mean the salad’s going to taste bad. It’ll probably taste better.

Of course, if you see a carrot in a crew cut and Buddy Holly glasses and a white shirt walking down the freeway carrying a bag full of guns, back away slowly and notify the authorities immediately – preferably ones with a cuisinart.


J.Po said…
My favorite salad involves maderin oranges instead of carrots for a splash of color. My mom made it when I was little, and we lived in the suburbs of the MW. Go figure.

- dark green lettuce (or spring mix, if you want to get all fancy)
- manderine oranges
- strawberries
- almond slivers
- poppyseed dressing (this makes the salad almost like dessert given the sweet and tangy aftertaste)

This salad probably provides 3 out of 5 of the fruit/veg servings AND it's tasty.

Go forth and eat salad!