The lunch I packed last night to take to work almost didn't make it til morning. It was the most scrumptious-looking salad, and my mouth was watering and my stomach growling as I washed the lettuce, chopped the peppers and sliced the avocado. It was a perfect blend of colors and textures and flavors: the dark purples and greens of the crisp lettuce and arugula, the juicy crunch of the red bell peppers and the smoothness of the perfectly-ripe avocado, the salty green olives and the mild creaminess of the fresh mozarella cheese...
It was beautiful and looked delectable. I even sprinkled a bit of grated parmesan cheese on top, then poured a bit of Italian dressing in a tiny Tupperware container with a tiny lid. Then I stowed it all carefully in the fridge. By the time I finished and went to bed, I was so excited I could hardly get to sleep. All I wanted to do was run downstairs and raid the fridge and dive into my amazing salad.
I have a friend who says she never thinks to make salads. She says it seems like too much trouble and it doesn't seem appealing enough to make the effort. I can't understand that. In our family, it doesn't matter what meal we're having, there's GOING to be salad. I often start with the salad if I don't know what else to make, and then build the meal around it. I've even been known to jump up from the table after we've all been seated and have prayed and started, because I realized there was no salad and I had to remedy the situation.
There are so many fabulous kinds of salads. I love tender dark green baby spinach leaves with sliced Granny Smith apples, walnuts and dried cranberries. Or sliced garden-grown tomatoes, still warm from the sunshine, with thick slabs of fresh, juicy mozarella cheese, and just-picked whole basil leaves on top, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. My mom makes an amazing kale salad - the kale leaves are stripped from the stalk and then drizzled in honey and olive oil, which is "massaged" into the leaves until they're softer. Then they're topped with sliced strawberries and toasted almonds. Sooo good, and with plenty of iron and vitamins in those dark green leaves!
And don't tell me that kids won't eat salads. That is purely up to the parents. If parents give kids salad to eat at a young age and don't give them the option of not eating it, they WILL eat salad, and even ENJOY it! My three brothers and I are scientific proof. Because we were raised like little rabbits on the leafy greens, we all crave the fresh vegetables. When I was in Germany for several months last year, my German friends used to laugh when they'd see me washing and chopping lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers for my lunch. "You're so healthy!" they laughed, "you're always eating salad!"
All this is making me hungry. We still have avocadoes and olives and peppers in the fridge - I could make a quick little salad for a midnight snack... :)