Monday 5th August 2011
In my youth, as far as I was concerned salad was garnish. And garnish was on the side of the plate to make it look nice, not to be eaten. It was my wife’s mother who taught me that, not only could it be delicious, it could also be eaten as a main meal.
My wife & I met when we were 17 years old. And as you do when you first start courting, I used to drive the 12 miles from my parents home to hers to have dinner with my, then, future wife & her Mum. My mother-in-law’s style of cooking was very different to the two-meat-and-veg meals I was used to.
“Do you wanna come over for dinner?” She would ask.
“I dunno. What are you having?” I replied being a little too picky on reflection.
“I dunno. Mum…, What’s for dinner?…” She shouted out. “…Soup & salad.” Came the answer.
This would be the reply 9 times out of 10.
‘Great…’ I would think. ‘…More soup & bloody salad!’ But after time I got used to her wonderful eclectic salads filled with such things as apples, walnuts, grated carrot, grapes or olives, amongst other things. And over the years I grew to love them.
In fact, a few years ago after being given my meal in a restaurant, I asked;
“Have you got any olive oil please?”
“What for?” Asked the barman.
“For the salad.” I replied.
“What salad? That’s just the garnish.” He continued bewildered by my question.
No longer is it mere decoration on my plate, an unnecessary extra, but a soloist in an assemblage piece.