DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Apr 26 2017

Salad Days

by Dea Anne M

salad

You’ve known it. I’ve known it. It’s that empty feeling, that sense of lacking something, that special bereftness that causes you to drape yourself across the handiest piece of furniture moaning and sighing and exclaiming out loud to (the bafflement of roommates, significant others and pets)…

“Why, oh why, is there no month – just one lousy month – during the year in which we celebrate salad and all things salad related?”

Fret no more because, believe it or not, May is National Salad Month! Granted, this extended occasion was created by an organization known as the Association for Dressings and Sauces back in 1992. Still, it might be said that National Salad Month must have been created to fill a need recognized by people who are obviously wiser than myself. After all, I had no idea – until about two minutes ago that is – that a 1991 Gallup Poll showed that “three out of four people eat a tossed salad everyday” and that other (unnamed) polls revealed the startling news that “salads taste better with salad dressing.” Of course, what a salad actually is can be a matter of some debate. The classic French salad course consists of plain greens dressed simply with oil and vinegar and is meant to follow the main course instead of preceding it. In parts of the South, when I was growing up, any random mix of edible objects could be suspended in gelatin and called a salad. No doubt some of these mixtures were, and continue to be, delicious, but I still remember a particularly garish presentation of sliced radishes and carrots in lime Jello with a combination of fascination and dread. The Midwest has its Snickers Salad which includes chopped Granny Smith apples, mini-marshmallows and…wait for it…chopped Snickers bars. About Frog Eye Salad I will only say that its ingredients include tiny round pasta, Cool Whip and pineapple juice.

Now, I don’t know about you, but this sort of exhaustive culinary research makes me hungry. I happen to be one of those three in four people who eats a tossed salad everyday, although I do make my own salad dressing which I suppose wouldn’t make me popular with the Association for Dressings and Sauces. Still, I proudly declare my love of salad and if you are fond of it as well – but feel the need for some new salad ideas in your life – then DCPL has resources for you.food52

From the excellent community website, Food52, comes Food52 Mighty Salads: 60 new ways to turn salad into dinner – and make ahead lunches too. These are hearty dishes, make no mistake, and certainly will provide you with some creative new ideas. By the way, if you’ve yet to visit Food52, then please do. The site is beautiful and the recipes are great. Try the Mujaddara With Spiced Yogurt!

In a similar vein is Tasha DeSerio’s Salad For Dinner: simple recipes for salads that make a meal. DeSerio presents a lovely range of salads here. Plus, detailed instructions and a beautiful photographs will be sure to inspire your wildest salad dreams.

bigAt 288 pages, Cooking Light: big book of salads from the editors of the excellent Cooking Light magazine, certainly covers the bases. The salads look good too. You’ll find intriguing dressing recipes and interesting variations on green salads plus dishes made from heartier vegetables as well as grains and meats. All are presented with the magazine’s typical close attention to eye appeal and high flavor profile. Of course, there’s a focus here on good nutrition too which isn’t a bad thing when you consider the fact that some restaurant salads can pack as much as 1,200 calories and over 1,400 mg sodium inside a single bowl.

How about you? Do you love salad? What’s the most unusual salad that you’ve encountered?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Effie C. April 28, 2017 at 8:37 AM

Thanks Dea Anne. This is just the inspiration I need. Especially after “in my mind” exquisitely creating scrumptious layers of my lasagna only to be told by the youngest left in the household that he doesn’t want lasagna. No meat please, he says. Veggies and salads are preferred. Which is great but not in my repertoire. I’ll be checking out Food 52!

Clair May 5, 2017 at 11:31 AM

I DO love salad! My mom used to rest hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, yellow squash, zuchinni and pickled beets on a bed of romaine. My personal favorite is a classic Greek salad which, a culinary artist friend says consists precisely of:

Red romaine lettuce
tomatoes
kalamata olives
cucumbers
red onion
feta cheese (cow or goat)
basil
oregano
lemon juice
olive oil

Lemon juice and olive oil is my favorite way to season a salad. UP with SALAD!!!

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