Sunday Cooking: About Salad

Sigh, salad. ‘It’s so much work!’

That’s what my cousin (she knows who she is) said to me when I shared a new recipe with her. And I agree. Salad, for those of us who would never consider rabbit food a meal on its own, salad does feel like yet another thing to lug over to the dinner table for an uncertain reward. After all, my husband and I are likely to just pick at it after already having had two helpings of whatever carnivorous entree we’ve prepared. I never ate it growing up, though we would pair spaghetti with meat sauce with a side of sliced cucumbers. That was the only raw vegetable we ate regularly, as far as I can remember.

Still, new times call for new measures and the truth is I eat too much. And even when I don’t eat too much, I eat too much meat. And even when I don’t eat too much meat, my diet has little variety. And I don’t think I’m alone.


Don’t laugh. But I have actually studied frequent salad eaters (i.e. white people) for years and have deduced the following get-more-salad-into-your-diet plan.

1) Get a salad bowl. Made out of wood. The smallest communal size you can find.

2) Get a pair of salad tongs and salad tossers (UGH!) salad servers. Wood ones are prettiest but they will dry out if left in water and need oiling. Metal or bone ones are less maintenance.

3) Buy as expensive a balsamic vinegar as you can stand (I assume you already have some extra-virgin olive oil in the house.)

You are now ready to serve salad in a civilized and regular manner. That’s right. ‘Regular.’ We need to turn this from a special occasion thing into an almost-daily habit.

During your weekly Saturday morning (or Wednesday night, whatever) shopping trip. Buy a head of lettuce. Just one. Or get the pre-washed stuff in the plastic containers if you want.

Now, the  key to salad is timing. At some point during cooking, tear a few leaves from the lettuce, run them under the tap and then leave them to dry between some paper towels. That’s right, don’t bother with the salad spinner. Now, fast forward. You’ve got a glass of wine in front of you. The meat (a roast chicken perhaps?) is already resting on your cutting board. The potatoes are in a serving dish covered in tin foil. Now, as your significant other sets the table and sets out the chicken, put the lettuce in your pretty new salad bowl**, add a few slices of whatever you have on hand, some shredded carrots, or a handful of red onion, or some sliced apples, whatever. Or nothing. It’s fine to eat just lettuce leaves. Drizzle them with some olive oil and some balsamic. Stick your serving pieces in the bowl and let one of your guests toss. Try to eat some greens between each round of good stuff.

And happy eating.


**Tear it up into small manageable pieces as you do so, removing the tough ribs.

Published by Christina

Writer, wife, mother, native New Yorker

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