Salad Dressing

Food, Vinegar, Eat, Fruit, Healthy
I recall the salad dressing that my mom usually made for the household. It was very straightforward. The new cold pressed virgin olive oil from Lebanon, a squeeze of half a lemon, a pinch of fresh mint, pepper and salt and there it was. And our salads at the time, it seems like a lifetime ago, consisted of fresh crunchy green salad, delicious fresh tomatoes and crunchy modest cucumbers, and spring onions! Preparing salad was fast, easy, 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 found all the prepared salad dressings, 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 that 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 wide variety of pre-prepared salad dressings available and I wonder how healthy that is, considering that in order to remain fresh for so long in the bottle on the shelf, a lot of additives have 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 but I gave it up because I could not stand eating the same salad sauce the whole week through! A French girlfriend would put her salad leaves in a cloth bag and shake it so all the water would drop out of the salad leaves, which end up dry limp and not so crunchy! My daughter who’s married to a French Swiss, has a little plastic container where she puts the salad and pulls a cord to strain out the water from the salad. The salad leaves do not 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 couple of days with us. When she saw me preparing the salad sauce she was horrified, she refused to eat it saying that her mother made one type of salad sauce only, always the same and she can not eat anything else. Some folks try to experiment with various 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, sometimes with apple vinegar, which I’m told is quite healthy, occasionally with balsamico which tastes delicious, but the majority of the time with fresh lemons. I like to add many different nuts, sometimes even raisins or cranberries. If the sauce is too thick and I do not want to add oil or lemon or vinegar, I add a little apple cider or even a teaspoon of water. I always feel guilty when I do that, a flash goes through my mind 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 now contains raw vegis also, such as avocado, broccholi, courgette, celery, fennel, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, beans and any green vegis I can get fresh and crispy with plenty of nuts. Sometimes I add fruits such as grapes, pineapple or apples. The mixture always depends on what I have in the fridge and what’s available of the season. Now and again when I have a freshly cooked hot meal, mostly roasted or broiled vegis or fish, I return to the original salad that I love best, like my mother made it, fast and easy.
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 components. Ask yourself how conscious are you of what you are eating. That would be a good start to become aware of your eating habits.
She loves to experiment and she loves variety, always easy, uncomplicated, fresh and fast 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! So far as I can remember he neglected because hamburgers, french fries and pasta reappeared on the menu for the school children 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 remember in a clearing out frenzy some years back 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 directions on how to do what. My young husband was horrified at the phone bills! How ever did we manage? Can’t think how we lived without YouTube, Google, amazon or skype! So I think of food, the way my mother cooked a dish, and I remember throwing away that treasure book of mine, and I feel guilty every time, as if I had 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 in that moment. A big mistake I can not rectify.

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