Hey! Guess what? I’m posting another picture of a salad I made last night (insert eye roll here).
It came to my attention yesterday while scrolling through my Instagram feed, that a lot of food bloggers post pictures of these great meals they “just” prepared accompanied by a recipe they “just” created. And one day I hope I have that much time in my day to do the same. Right now I don’t and so, salad. But isn’t it a salad time of year? Yes it is! This is when we should be eating the bounty of local gardens. That time of year when the lettuce leaves are young and tender, the tomatoes vine ripened to juicy sweetness and the radishes still dirty from the soil they were just pulled from. And so, salad.
Which brings me to something I’ve read a few times in different books about the Paleo diet: we should be eating food that is available to us locally at the time of year it is available. You know what I mean?
When I was a kid I don’t remember eating cantaloupe in the middle of the winter or a BLT sandwich with fresh tomato. Apples in February? I don’t think so unless it was apple sauce. Any fruit and most of the vegetables I ate were either from a mason jar stored in the cold room of mom and dad’s basement or from the freezer. I can still remember watching my mom and my grandma “canning” fruits and vegetables and making pickles in the Fall so we could eat them all winter long. I was fascinated at the effort it took to “can” anything; sterilize the jars, rubber seal rings, lids and screw tops. Then you had to prepare the food you were going to stuff inside; tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, plums, cherries, apricots (not my favourite, then) and carrots. Then back into the big canning pot to make sure everything got sealed up good and tight. Memories…
At some point my mom and grandma stopped planting a garden and they stopped canning our food. They got busy doing other things, life got in the way and food manufacturers’ came to the rescue producing and packaging everything for our “convenience”. Reminds me of that Joni Mitchell song with the lyric “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Or did they?
As of the past couple of weeks my Facebook feed has been full of pictures that my friends and their friends have been sharing and not of the usual “look at me climbing a mountain or canoeing a glacier fed lake (yea, I have ‘those’ kind of friends) they are pictures of the glorious bounty from the gardens they planted with their own two hands and have been tending to lovingly, as you would a newborn or a puppy, for months and all to be rewarded with the fruits of the earth and their labour. As one friend commented about a zucchini from her garden “hand foraged and organic”. Hooray!!
The end of summer was such an exciting time when I was as a kid (which in retrospect seems a little odd, because when you’re a kid the last thing you want is the summer to end) because it meant we were eating new potatoes, boiled and then covered in cream and butter (delicious fats) and fresh dill and chives; apple pie; peach cobbler; fresh peas and green beans. Yum!
So, as I raise my carrot high in the air to offer a toast to the summer, it’s bounty and, salad.
And that’s my point of view.
Good things come to those who read (all the way to the end). Here’s the recipe for our favourite salad dressing:
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe adapted from The Best of Bridge)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder (you can use fresh but throw twice as much in)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Throw everything into a container with a lid and shake it all up. If you have kids this is a great recipe to get them to help with. Why get the kids involved you might wonder? Because on that day when you don’t feel like making dinner they can!