Fresh Radish Salad
Many cultures throughout the world serve a small vegetable plate or course as a beginning to meals a little of this or that including everything from chopped roasted eggplant served with Pita to varieties of curries or pickled selections among what is available or common to the region.
As a child, the most common salad served nearly every single night among mine and most families where I lived was the Iceberg Lettuce Salad. Do you remember it?
Oh yes, long before low cal dressing, bacon bits, and croutons, each night before dinner it was one child in the families’ job to remove the outer leaves of that big ball of light green compact denseness before rinsing it and breaking it up into bite size pieces.
Sometimes this salad got tomatoes, onions, or cucumbers. I’m pretty sure in my later years of high school my sister, Carolyn, was relegated this task along with preparing the homemade salad dressing, also the same nearly every single night, called Russian Dressing. Am I taking you back in time now?
Yes, Russian Dressing was rapidly prepared pretty much by mixing together a couple globs of mayonnaise into a bowl then shaking in enough ketchup to create the desired color somewhere between peach and pink.
In any event, the Iceberg lettuce salad with Russian Dressing was like a first course.
Imagine how I could have laughed to the moon when higher end restaurants began serving Iceberg Lettuce Quarters in restaurants, mostly topped with Blue Cheese Dressing.
Still, at a pricey cost, I couldn’t help but think of the humor in a course that any of the children not only in my own family, but in the whole neighborhood could have made, even easier, since quartering doesn’t even require tearing the leaves into bite size pieces.
As for the Blue Cheese Dressing, I think it arrived with the invention of bottled dressing because real ‘Blue Cheese’ was generally described as an experience. Known as a wonderful cheese in which to try when some special occasion presented itself then indicated if you could get past what it looked like, or smelled like.
So while I’m reminiscing, let’s talk Caesar Salad. Now, the Caesar Salad was not one a person got at every restaurant topped with salmon or shrimp, or chicken.
The Caesar Salad was the ultimate of salads, ordered only at the best of restaurants, an experience like eating Blue Cheese, whose dressing, using a real egg yolk, whipped up tableside on a tall table with an over sized wooden salad bowl first carefully rubbed with garlic around the sides and bottom before the actual performance began.
Oh my goodness, back to the lovely Radish Salad, so easy to prepare as a first course.
The past couple of days I have been doing a lot of reflecting on so many good memories with my siblings, especially since my brother John and his wife Pat have just welcomed their sixth grandchild, the first of my niece, Micha, her new son, Benjamin.
Texting with my brother yesterday got me thinking not only how blessed he is, but how blessed I am to have shared my childhood with one of the truly best individuals I have ever known. Isn’t it amazing the bonding that can take place at the shared family table over a simple Iceberg Lettuce Salad with Russian Dressing?
And so it is with a first course, fresh choices simply put together and with a little reflection, the possibilities are as limitless as the memories they can contain, even serving a new first course, Fresh Radish Salad.