Monday, November 21, 2011

On Wheatberry Salad, or "Still Elusive Salad Success"

By all accounts, a simple salad of a few different textures and tastes, dressed with an acid, oil and seasoning should be foolproof. Pages abound on Epicurious.com of such things. Comment after comment about substituting with what was in the fridge or what was leftover at the time follow every recipe: "...and it turned out great! Raves from my husband and he doesn't even like [blank]." This can't be that hard.  

And how ingenious! What more humble or beautiful way to use up leftovers than tossed with a simple grain, a delicate dressing. A change from a lettuce salad, a far cry from a soggy sandwich. A solid, stick-to-your-ribs celebration of dinner the night before. Yes, a thousand times, YES!

Brussels sprouts, garlic roasted sweet potatoes, chewy bits of braised beef. Cooked wheatberries. A gentle squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Salt and pepper. Behold this salad! Nutritionally sound, frugal, satisfying. This will be excellent.
Uff da.
Woof. That's awful. Greasy and sour and bitter. And chewy in all the wrong ways.

Ghastly.
Presentation! The plastic tub is psyching me out. If I make this salad into an event, if I use a little glass punch cup, and a little lemon as garnish, and I turn the Brussels sprouts to their most attractive side (and use a fancy digital filter) this salad will look great and taste nice.

Nope.
Hmm. Perhaps if I use a retro filter and do that edgy focus-on-a random-part-of-the-dish-not-the-actual-food thing they're so fond of in hip gourmet magazines?

Yuck.
When all else fails, have a beer. This salad will be lovely once I've enjoyed a frosty oat soda.

Iesh. Really?
Okay, fine. Everything is classy and desirable in black and white, and just for good measure we'll leave the beer AND do that fancy focus-on-just-the-important-things trick. Any good?
No dice.
BAH!

You win this round, salad.

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