Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Salad daze

This might sound odd coming from me in my thirty sixth year of existence, but I don't get salad. Just what is it anyway? A smattering of lettuce, a spritz of vinegar, a trivality of tomato or apple or citrus to provide flavour? It is less a food stuff than a bowl full of oxygen with some vegetable matter in the in-between spaces.

Salad raises profound questions of existence: when does a bowl of leaves and vegetables and stuff stop being just leaves and vegetables and become a salad? Who even eats salad, anyway? Salad has long been regarded as a vegetarian cliche, but in my experience vegetarians are hardly ever interested in salad: "I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse-sized soy-bean curd block!" cries the Archetypical Vegetarian, standing proudly on the hill and casting aside the inconsequential arrangement of arugula they have been presented with.

Try as I might, I can never make a bowl of lettuce and vegetables go from being a bowl of lettuce and vegetables to being a proper salad. Is there a formula one can use to balance out the lettuce leafs with a proportional amount of non-lettuce leaf material? Ought I be carefully measuring out and weighing each lettuce leaf to determine the impact they will make on the final complex mathematical algorithm for the stochastic system of food that will grace my bowl? How can you stop the liquid stuff, the vinegar and oil and all that, from just trickling down to the bottom of the bowl? Wouldn't it just be more simple, more honest, if, instead of presenting people with a bowl of lettuce leafs on the table, to just bowl the whole lettuce over the floor towards them?

The vegetable that missed its calling as a bowling ball. 

And surely, if the lettuce is really what people are after, we could think of a better system of serving it up to them than salad. Couldn't we decorate these round, attractive little balls of leaf-matter by carving them? Alternatively, we could stuff them with other food stuffs: or, for the real lettuce afficionados, we could serve them up as lettuce shiskebabs, on pointed sticks, as a frugal but nourishing treat in these financially-straitened times.

Surely this would make more sense than to serve them up in - a salad.


Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

The trouble with your otherwise excellent suggestion to carve and ornament lettuces is that most of your modern fancy lettuces are not round globes, like your iceberg there; rather they are an erratic profusion of leaves that cannot be disciplined into a ball. I'm thinking of your mignonette and your cos, the buttercrunch and the sucrine, the freckled oak-leaf, and the not-true lettuces, like rocket and sorrel.

TimT said...

Oh no! Not the Not-True Lettuce Fallacy!

Steve said...

I think you must never have eaten a salad of lettuce, pear, bacon, blue cheese and toasted walnuts. With an appropriate vinaigrette dressing.

Steve said...

By the way - iceberg is only good for shedding or making cups to hold other fillings. For salads its hopeless.

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