Your Salad Dressing

Oil And Vinegar, Oil, Vinegar
I recall the salad dressing that my mom usually made for the household. It was very simple. The fresh cold pressed virgin olive oil from Lebanon, a squeeze of half a lemon, a pinch of fresh mint, salt and pepper and there it was. And our salads at the time, it seems like a lifetime ago, consisted of fresh crunchy green salad, yummy fresh tomatoes and crunchy modest cucumbers, and spring onions! Preparing salad was quick, simple, tasty, fresh and super healthy. Fresh salad was a part of our daily diet. My favorite as a kid was a sandwich of feta cheese with pitta bread and a cucumber.
Years later in the western world, I discovered all of the prepared salad sauces, in England it was Heinz salad which was a thick mayonaisy creamy texture and I developed a taste for that for a while. In Switzerland I developed a taste for the creamy thick salad sauce they love to serve heretoday. Italians love the vinegar instead of lemon especially the balsamico. Now when I go shopping to the supermarket, it’s mind boggling for me to see the variety of pre-prepared salad dressings available and I wonder how healthy that is, considering that in order to stay fresh for so long in the jar on the shelf, a great deal of additives need to be added.
I have an Australian friend who prepares his salad sauce in quantity and stores it in his fridge for the week. It tastes good I have to admit and I tried that for a few weeks myself but I gave it up because I couldn’t stand eating the identical salad sauce the whole week through! A French girlfriend would place her salad leaves in a cloth bag and shake it so all of the water would drop out of the salad leaves, which end up dry limp and not so crunchy! My daughter who is married to a French Swiss, has a little plastic container where she puts the salad and pulls a cord to strain out the water out of the salad. The salad leaves don’t suffer as much, so that’s OK if you worry about a few drops of water on your salad. I could not be bothered frankly.
My niece, in her teens at the time, came to spend a few days with us. When she saw me preparing the salad sauce she was horrified, she refused to eat it saying that her mom made one kind of salad sauce just, always the same and she can not eat anything else. She grew up to change her mind about that. Some folks attempt to experiment with different sorts of salad sauces. I belong to this class. I like variety in life. So sometimes it’s with mustard, sometimes perhaps with mayonnaise, other times with crème, occasionally with apple vinegar, which I’m told is very healthy, occasionally with balsamico which tastes delicious, but the majority of the time with fresh lemons. I like to add a variety of nuts, sometimes even raisins or cranberries. If the sauce is too thick and I don’t want to include oil or lemon or vinegar, I add a little apple cider or perhaps a teaspoon of water. I feel guilty when I do that, a flash goes through my head of my friends who go to so much trouble to strain the water from the salad leaves.
My cakes are becoming more creative and rich since I eat a good deal of fresh vegis, so really speaking my salad plate today consists of raw vegis too, like avocado, broccholi, courgette, celery, fennel, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, beans and any green vegis that I can get fresh and crunchy with loads of nuts. Occasionally I add fruits like grapes, apples or pineapple. The mix always depends on what I have in the refrigerator and what is available of this season. Now and again once I have a freshly cooked warm meal, mostly roasted or broiled vegis or fish, I return to the original salad that I love best, like my mom made it, fast and simple.
Variety is the spice of life and the Creator loves variety. Is your life full of variety? It would be interesting for you to know about what you’re eating, what kind of salad sauce and what’s really in the ingredients. Ask yourself how aware are you of what you’re eating. That would be a fantastic beginning to become aware of your eating habits.
Amongst many other activities Margo also enjoys cooking. She loves to experiment and she loves variety, always easy, uncomplicated, fresh and quick is her motto. She likes to gather straightforward and quick menus such as Jamie Oliver, the young and famous English cook that tried to change food habits in the schools of America! As far as I can remember he neglected because pizzas, french fries and pasta reappeared on the menu for the school kids by popular demand, shortly after he left. The very things he wished to banish, unhealthy foods!
I’m obviously feeling nostalgic. I feel guilty because I recall in a clearing out frenzy some years ago throwing away my cook book, hand written in Arabic, within the span of 20 years, with recipes from my mother’s kitchen. I used to call her on the telephone, she lived in London and I in Zurich, and she would give me the recipe on the phone and instructions on how to do what. My young husband used to be horrified at the phone bills! How did we manage? Can’t think how we lived without YouTube, Google, amazon or skype! So I think of food, how my mom cooked a dish, and I remember throwing away that treasure book of mineand I feel guilty every time, as if I’d betrayed my mom, and angry at myself for being so revolutionary about getting rid of old stuff. I don’t believe I was that aware of what I was doing at the moment. A big mistake I can’t rectify.

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