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Posts Tagged ‘Lutheran church ladies’

My definition of a salad is a jumble of nice dark leafy mixed greens combined with whatever fresh vegetable you might have in the fridge or garden, drizzled with homemade vinaigrette or buttermilk dressing. Yum. I could eat it every day. In fact, I do eat it every day when the garden is producing.  Having married a man who is my complete opposite, you might guess what type of salad HE eats. Lettuce: Iceberg only. If you must, a chopped romaine will do, as long as the leaves aren’t too dark. Add tomato, cucumber,  carrot, and celery, and not necessarily all at once.  Any weird vegetable such as chopped raw zucchini, asparagus, or snow peas will be picked out.  Absolutely NO fruit. Fruit does not belong in a salad and will be left on the side of the plate.  Adding cheese is fine, as long as it is not a weird cheese such as shaved Asiago or Gorganzola. Any olives will be picked out. Dressing? Thousand Island or French, bottled.  Italian if you have nothing else.  My culinary skills are wasted here, and oftentimes I make two separate bowls of salad when fixing dinner.  Salad eaten in a church basement or dining area is another story altogether.  These delicious concoctions are called “salad” only to trick you into thinking that you are eating something healthy.  I don’t know about you Catholics, Methodists, or Baptists, but in any given Lutheran church on any given potluck or luncheon day, there is at least one salad which contains Jello. I think green Jello was invented so folks would think they were having a green vegetable.  Growing up Lutheran in the 60’s and 70’s, we ate a lot of salads made with shredded cabbage, celery, and carrots mixed into green Jello, cut into squares, and served on a lettuce leaf with a dollop of mayonnaise on top.  I used to scrape that dollop of mayonnaise off to the side of the plate, but some of the ladies spread it all over the top of the salad like they were frosting a cake. I remember a long-ago potluck at my Auntie Olive’s farm where someone brought the concoction of green Jello, chopped celery, walnuts, mixed with big globs of cream cheese, cut into squares and served on a bed of shredded cabbage with a dollop of Miracle Whip on top.  It tasted just like it sounds, believe me.  Thankfully, salads have changed with the times. There are always at least two or three pasta salads at a potluck, and I always have to have just  little taste of each one.  There are beautiful salads layered in clear glass bowls and homely but delicious salads with tuna, celery, frozen peas and mayonnaise. There are fruit salads plain or with whipped cream or yogurt.  I recently tasted a salad made with chopped candy bars, apples, and real whipped cream.  I don’t know how anybody on God’s green earth could call this a salad, but it was delicious and definitely a keeper. I must confess that I want back for seconds. Church ladies often exchange recipes, and I will tell you this much:  If you ever hear someone describing a recipe in which “first, you cook a pound or two of bacon until crisp……” you’ll want to head for that salad bowl before it is all gone.

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