Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Salad: A look at local examples and an entomology

I have been meaning to write about this, for a while, ever since I notice that in some restaurants, a salad can have up to 20 different components and in other restaurants a salad can be just one thing with dressing. Salads can differ greatly but usually have come to mean more than one item mixed with a dressing or sauce or topping of some sort.

The word 'salad', comes from an Old French word which may have been a derivative of an Old Latin word 'salar', which means 'to salt.'  The idea of a salad, back in Roman times, was any mix of vegetables which was seasoned with brine.  The word's first written origin was in 1390, in Old French.  In 1699, research was shown that the Romans and Greeks ate salads of mixed greens, topped with salty olive oil and vinegar dressings. So, the original salads, as a mixture of the leaves of plants, with a dressing, were composed of more than one type of green or leaf or stem. What is very important to note for my point: is that leafy green salads contain more than one kind of leafy green.  For example; an ice burg lettuce salad would not be a bowl of ice burg lettuce with a dressing, but a bowl of ice burg lettuce mixed with at least one other thing and a dressing.

So, we get to the "salad" that accompanied a bad dish, which I had Saturday night.

Now, as you can see, this is what they call a Frisee Salad.  The "salad" as they call it, had only one type of vegetable in it: Frisee.  It had a very light vinegar drizzled on it, without any oil or even salt.  Not only that, but this type of leafy green is a bit expensive compared to others like lettuce, spinach or even mesclun, so most restaurants don't place it solely on dishes.  So, what this restaurant did, was take only Frisee and a drizzle of vinegar, so even by the Old French or Roman use of the word or preparation of a salad, this bunch of Frisee on the plate does not count as a proper "salad".

Not to mention that overall the dish was boring, unseasoned and tasteless, which the bitter greens did very little to help liven.

Other restaurants, know how to make a salad, and do so even by adding one or two more things with a lettuce.

That is a good sized salad.

Take a look at your plate, the next time you order a salad and see what is delivered to you.  If it is a bowl or plate of one kind of lettuce with a drizzle or something, they are doing it to be cheap and don't wish to take the time to make a proper salad.

I also know that the term 'salad' can also mean any other mixture, as in a seafood salad or pasta salad, but again, those salads have more than one thing mixed together.  Otherwise, the next time you ate spaghetti with marinara sauce, you could call it a "salad".

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