Thursday, May 15, 2008
I know my great-great-grandma would recognize all the ingredients in this salad
Salad days are finally here. Well, most of the time. Truth be told, our weather is all over the place at the mo; tornadoes, severe thunder storms, torrential rain, but it is mostly warm, and we have had some sunshine.
The big advantage of salad days is we do most of our cooking outdoors on the grill, now when I say we, I mean Mick does most of the cooking on the grill. And this does mean that I get to unchain myself from the stove for a few months, and just make lots of lovely salads. At the moment, I’m still having to use mainly store bought ingredients, but as soon as everything in our garden ripens I’ll be able to use homegrown produce.
Last week, I saw an interesting article on Nightline. They interviewed a guy called Michael Pollan who has written a book entitled, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Pollan states that much of what Americans consume is not food. He says, "There is food and there is what I call edible food-like substances. These are things we've invented in the last 50 years or so that, you know, smell like food, taste like food, look like food, but they're very different than the kinds of things people ate a hundred years ago."
Pollan thinks that we shouldn’t eat anything that our great-great-grandmothers wouldn't recognize as food. And while he does recommend doing your shopping at Farmer’s Markets, he does understand that most of us have no choice but to shop at supermarkets. That being the case he says, the bulk of your food should come from the periphery of the store, i.e. fresh fruit and veg, meat and fish, and dairy, and not from the center aisles.
Well, I must be doing something right because I’ve had supermarket cashiers comment, "I bet you make everything from scratch, don’t you?" And mostly, I do. That’s usually followed by, "I wish I had the time." I don’t have the time either, but I make time, because it’s important. (I am, of course, far too polite to say this, but maybe I should).
The cashiers around here also don’t know their leeks from their rutabagas, because whenever I buy them they always have to ask me what they are. :-)
By way of a contrast to Michael Pollan you might want to check out the 20 worst foods in America. BTW, I can say without fear of contradiction, that I have never eaten any of these "foods."
½ an iceberg lettuce, chopped into strips
2 ribs celery, chopped
½ green or red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
¼ cucumber, deseeded and chopped
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped.
6 radishes, halved.
12 manzanilla olives, halved
The radishes did come from our garden
Throw all ingredients in a bowl.
You can use whatever salad dressing you like, I just drizzled this with some olive oil, added a few splashes of red wine vinegar, and a dash or two of fresh ground black pepper.
I served it with a peppered pork loin, and rice, both cooked on the grill. Those recipes will doubtless appear here over the coming months.