Now I’m sure after my introduction from yesterday you would expect my first post to be about something taken from today’s headlines. There is so much to be discussed, from the latest in the GOP campaign for President, the uprising in Syria, the new jobs report released yesterday, but there is something on my mind that I feel needs to be addressed first before all of that; the whoring up of the American side salad.
First, let me put out there that I like vegetables. I like salads. This is not an anti-vegetable rant. I know people who claim to like vegetables, but that vegetable palate consists of green beans, corn and peas. I am not that person. The only vegetables I don’t like are green peppers, olives (black olives smell like dirty socks to me), and tomatoes. Side note: I like salsa, cooked tomatoes in pasta sauce, ketchup, etc. There are those who will say, “You haven’t tasted a tomato right off the vine. We used to eat them like apples when I was a kid.” I never have tasted them off the vine during the summer and I never will. The though of that is like biting into a slug. I could do a whole blog post about my quirky food issues like how I don’t like hot fruit, but I like cold fruit. If you really want me to, post it in the comments section. Now back to my original rant.
The last three weeks I have been served an unusually large amount of side salads. I just returned from a business conference where I was served a number of meals in large venues where each lunch and dinner was served with a side salad. Yesterday, I went to an upscale restaurant where I ordered soup and a side salad. I can now say after having at least 5 side salads in the last few weeks that there is a national problem with the American side salad.
Once upon a time, the American side salad consisted of this: iceberg and/or Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, croutons, cheese and your choice of dressing. It was easy, you could depend on it and it did the job it was supposed to do. If you went to a fancy restaurant, you could add to that some pine nuts, maybe a fancier crouton, artichokes, but still the dish wouldn’t stray too far from the original ingredients.
Fast forward to a new administration, a failing economy and the introduction of “field greens”. As their name implies “field greens”, I feel, should stay in the field as nature intended. If I spend hours during the summer yanking these weeds from my yard, I do not want to find them on my plate and then have to pay for them. They are bitter, hard to pick up with a fork and just plain wrong. Ever notice when you do go to pick them up with a fork, you can never get just one piece? They come in a whole clump. Or the reverse is you get that one really flat piece that you absolutely can not stick with the fork and when you go to scoop it up with the fork it sticks to the plate like glue. Seriously, I think “field greens” hate us as much as we hate them.
The past few weeks I have encountered such foreign side salad intruders as poached pears, almonds and grapes. Grapes and almonds are not fork friendly. All objects on a side salad plate must be fork friendly. There is nothing worse than trying to stab into an object with a fork and having it fly off of your plate. Pine nuts I get because they are small enough to be carried with a piece of lettuce into your mouth. Almonds are big enough that they can’t be catching a ride on a piece of lettuce. They are too hard to balance on a fork so you are either left with picking them up with your fingers (Miss Manners eye roll inserted) or you just leave them there on your plate. I picked the 2nd option.
I have a new rule for salads, fruit is a dessert or a snack, not a vegetable and does not belong on salad. I think for every rule there is an exception so the ONLY exception is the occasional strawberry. I have tried strawberries in salad and I do like them so they get a pass. Pears, grapes, apples and any other fruit is no longer allowed. I am a segregationist when it comes to keeping my fruits and vegetables separate.
Now with all this jazzing up of my side salads the past few week, I got to experience what naturally thin people experience all the time, a life of a few bites and declaring themselves full. Leaving every side salad at my conference untouched the waiters and my colleagues inquired many times if everything was o.k. I wanted to stand up and declare my outrage at the gourmetification of the American side salad, but instead I just said I wasn’t very hungry. I’m sure they were thinking that must be how she keeps that amazing size 12 figure. She limits her side salad consumption.
My side salad rant has come to an end. If I have changed one person’s mind about side salads I have done some good. If one restaurant reads this post and does not place the regular order for field greens this week I will feel like I have accomplished something. To all the field greens out there who stay in the field this week, I say you’re welcome!