Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Garden Salad

Garden Salad

Dorcas Annette Walker

I think a tossed salad is one of the most diversified foods that an individual can prepare to eat. If you don’t believe me the next time you are at a buffet-style restaurant study the different ways people prepare their salad at a salad bar. It can be quite educational. Take my husband for example. He is the kind of person that uses the entire salad bar to make his salad. I shudder every time I see his stacked overflowing salad bowl. To me Dana’s salads are an entire meal. I’m a more picky kind of person when it comes to food. I prefer bite-sized pieces of lettuce with a few food combinations instead of taking a spoonful of everything set out on the salad bar. I can’t deny that my husband’s salads aren’t healthy. I just have a preference of using either a mixture of vegetables or fruit with my lettuce instead of mixing them all together in one big glob. Even though my husband frequently reminds me that everything you eat all goes to one place, I still can’t handle the thought of eating red beets, peaches, pickles, egg salad, tuna, pineapple, onions, tomatoes, pepperoni, cucumbers, grated carrots, black olives, bacon bits, croutons, and shredded cheese on lettuce topped with a generous amount of thousand island dressing all together- even if it is stacked in layers. In my defense I have seen other people do a double take at my husband’s towering salad creations. The way he puts together a baloney sandwich is also mind boggling, but that is another story.

Salad is a mixture of vegetables or fruit topped by a dressing and is often served as an appetizer before a larger meal. The garden salad or green salad is mostly composed of vegetables built on a base of one or more lettuce varieties either with a predetermined arrangement or tossed with a dressing. Salt is such an important ingredient in salad dressings that the word salad is based on the Latin word for salt. Salad was first recorded in a recipe book composed before 1399. The concept of salad dressing varies with different cultures. North America has a mixture of salad dressings while in southern Europe vinaigrettes are used. Mayonnaise is predominant in the Eastern Europe countries, China, and Russia. Denmark’s salads are based on crème dressings. On September 29, 2007 Spain tossed the world’s largest salad with 14,740 pounds of lettuce, tomato, onion, pepper, and olives prepared in a container 59 feet long and 15.7 feet wide with twenty cooks supervising the salad preparations that took over three hours.

Salad tips:
- For a subtle garlic flavor, rub the salad bowl with a cut clove of garlic; for a more pronounced flavor mince the garlic, mix with salt, and add to the salad.
- In addition to using Iceberg lettuce, try Boston lettuce, leaf lettuce, young spinach leaves, dandelion greens, escarole, and romaine.
- To keep a head of lettuce fresh in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks, cut out the core, then wrap the head in paper towels, and close completely in a plastic bag.
- Accent your greens with boiled eggs, crumbled bacon, and a sprinkling of fresh leafy herbs such as basil, marjoram, thyme, tarragon, and parsley.
- Garnish with croutons and colorful red or green pepper rings, sliced olives, cheese cubes or with a fruit salad use pineapple cubes and mandarin orange slices with a maraschino cherry in the center.
- To make a quick meal add shredded cooked chicken, fish, beef, canned salmon, or tuna.

Weekly tip: To make canned peas taste like fresh garden peas: drain the liquid from one can of peas into a sauce pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add 1 tsp flour, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add 2 tb margarine, and fold the peas into the thickened liquid. Serve hot when the butter is melted!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, syndicated columnist, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more information check out:


Melissa said...

I couldn't help but to laugh when you discussed your husband's salads. I laugh, because they sound remarkably like mine! I've gotten more than a few head shakes from my husband when he tries to figure out how I keep all that salad on one plate.

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

At least you are eating healthy, huh?