Salad: a love affair

May 9, 2011


I didn’t always love beer, and I didn’t always love salad. But now I love both. My love of beer developed gradually and I couldn’t really say when. However, I think I can’t pinpoint my first salad-loving incident to Vancouver, British Columbia, in November 2004.

My parents and I were about to embark on a group holiday tour across western Canada aboard the Rocky Mountaineer train. Sort of like the Orient Express—every bit as romantic (because when isn’t overnight train travel not romantic, even if you’re only with your parents) but quite a bit less famous.

The evening before we were to begin riding the rails, the group dined out at Canada Place on the Vancouver waterfront (pictured below). It was a fine dinner and I ate mine up. It was also the first time I can remember truly enjoying eating a salad. Maybe it’s because it was (perhaps) the first one I had that consisted of darkly colored “greens” rather than pale wedges of iceberg.

At any rate, I ate mine up, and dinner, and then noticed that a couple of my dinner neighbors had left theirs untouched. So I asked if they’d mind passing them over because it would be too bad if they went to waste. They were quite happy to. And I was in my first salad rapture.

Now that I think about it, it was roughly (give or take a couple of years) around the time of my beer awakening as well. I hadn’t gone hoppy yet but I had gone dark, and regularly enjoyed Newcastle with my buddies Jim and Rob whilst we shot pool at City Billiards and they flirted with Liz, our frequent server. At the first dinner for the tour group in Winnipeg, Manitoba, we ate a place with (as I recall) “grape” in the name and Fort Garry Dark Ale on the menu. At the time it sent me into my first beer rapture.

Now I realize I’m merging Canada group tours. The Winnipeg stop was prior to boarding the train up to Churchill to commune with polar bears. Salad in Vancouver was prior to the train heading back east across the Canadian Rockies.

But the point I was going to make was, I had discovered my enjoyment of getting tipsy by the time we were dining in Vancouver, and I know I was at least mediumly tipsy that night. The salad was really delicious and, due to my tipsiness, I was emboldening to beg more off my dining neighbors.

As with the beer, I don’t know when the absolute love took over. But I do know that it has and that if you give me a choice between a large salad and most other things, I will choose the salad. If it were between salad and pizza, I’d have a tough decision, but my current favorite meal is a rare steak and a giant salad. Nothing else (except the adult beverage), just the steak and the salad.

This past week I’ve been enjoying particularly delicious salads. My grocery store changed the way they make their deli roasted chickens for the better (saltier). One of the best ways to do the salad is to get the chicken for dinner one night, then use the leftovers for really tasty big salads that are a meal in themselves from then on. Finished with olive oil and either balsamic or raspberry vinegar, and you’ve got a winner.

Salad, salad, salad!


May 4, 2011

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