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The Idea of a Salad

A "salad" picked and arranged by my son

A salad picked and arranged by my son

Upon hearing the word salad my son’s face reveals disgust or despair or just plain irritation. He actually eats bean, grain or pasta or potato salads and in a pinch even a grated vegetable salad but any kind of green salad has been rejected outright for years. He eats cooked greens in every form but NOT as a salad.

However, he devours fennel fronds and mint walking around the neighborhood and he couldn’t get enough raw pea shoots at a friend’s house for dinner recently. So last week he and I picked fennel fronds from a nearby parking strip, mint coming through a brick wall at the neighbors and pea shoots from our back yard. We washed and dried our loot and Ellis arranged it on our dinner plates. He munched away happily and had seconds, maybe thirds. I brought some olive oil, salt and lemon juice to the table for mine but found that the plain greens were actually a lovely change to our usual dressed ones.

A wonderful piece in today’s Oregonian about Xico Owner and Chef Kelly Myers reminded me of the joy and importance of cooking (or in this case gathering) with children and letting them have some agency in what and how we prepare and eat. I have my idea of what a salad should be but so does Ellis! And another recent article about urban foraging and all the edibles in  our back yards and parking strips is an inspiration to do more family foraging and expand our notion of dinner.

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Granny #

    I loved this one. Memories of Sauerampfer und Brunnenkresse auf der Giebelhardter Wiese.

    May 7, 2013
  2. Carol Boutard #

    Excellent, Ellis. I am sure I am not the only one those who love to read your posts who has waited for your son to start building his culinary chops. Especially now that I am a grandmother, I am most interested in the effects of “good example” cooking and eating on the next generation. I really hope you mention Ellis’s reactions and innovations as frequently as they occur. Again, your post is just like a good meal in itself.

    May 7, 2013
    • Thank you for the note Carol. I will mention his reactions and involvement in the future. It’s fun to be “pushed” by him to think differently and more creatively. I’ll have to do a post about this pasta making fascination. He can crank out pasta with more focus and perseverance than just about anything other building lego:)!

      May 7, 2013
      • Carol Boutard #

        Do you actually mean that Ellis can make pasta from scratch? Don’t make me hate you…..

        May 9, 2013
  3. Oh I make the dough (which really is not difficult) and he just cranks it all through the pasta machine by hand. It’s just a bit strength and perseverance that you need for that one.

    May 9, 2013

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