The Salad Days of Summer

Even worse than the dog days of summer are the summer salad days. Those are the days when even a confirmed carnivore welcomes a chilled plate of veggies in place of steak and ‘tators.

I hit the salad days about a week ago. It was a day that started out like no day should ever start with me being hauled away in the back of an ambulance after ripping a gash in my leg on a hunk of cardboard. You know how much a paper cut hurts. Think of cardboard as a bunch of paper all stacked up just waiting to slice through an unsuspecting appendage. It wasn’t so terrible. A couple of hours in the emergency room, a few lab tests, a pair of stitches and one large tetanus shot and home in time for lunch.

But honesty, after a morning like that, that started before I even had breakfast, even though I was hungry as a bear, the last thing I wanted to do was eat. I was quite content sitting with my leg elevated and the noon newscast detailing the horrors other metro residents had been facing that morning. Fortunately my daughter recognized the grumbling noise coming from the living room not coming from me because I couldn’t get comfortable but coming from me because my stomach was quite sure my mouth had been stitched shut.  “How about a salad?”

It seemed innocent enough. Some lettuce, perhaps a tomato, the sort of thing that one burns more calories eating than one expends on chewing. Boy was I wrong. I got an old fashioned “what’s in the fridge that can look a little like a chef’s salad” salad. Green and red peppers, red onions, mushrooms, ham, turkey, provolone, cheddar, and carrots on a bed of butter lettuce with ranch dressing. Fabulous! Filling, tasty, a variety of textures, and still light when compared to my usual lunch of pepperoni and peanut butter on wheat toast.

That started a run of salads from simple leftover rotisserie chicken salad on a bed of lettuce to a full out steak salad. We make ours with hearty greens, bell peppers, sweet onions, radishes, hard boiled eggs, whatever leftover steak might be in the fridge warmed up, and French fries (oven baked if you want the healthy version). That with some fresh melon for dessert and you really can forget about a classic steak and baked potato. And be satisfied.

But the salad days won’t last long. It’s only a matter of time before I’ll want an old fashioned hot dog off the grill smothered with chopped onions and baked beans.  Maybe two of them.  Make that three.

That’s what I think. Really. How ‘bout you?


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