I love how tuned in I am to catching writing ideas during Slice of Life. They’re everywhere! This morning I took time to read my “Daily Poem” which arrives in my inbox each morning. When I read the description of the poem “Biscuits,” it triggered a memory of a dear friend teaching me how to make salad.
“This is your wedding gift!” my friend Heidi said as she handed me a huge wooden salad bowl full of fresh goodies. “As you can see, I couldn’t wrap it.” The bowl was made of a natural blond wood. Its sides were smooth and clean. “It’s beautiful Heidi,” I said as I hugged and thanked her. She took the heavy container out of my hands and placed it on the counter. It comes with a lesson and we’re going to do it right now.” She began unloading the ingredients: red leaf lettuce, Romaine, a bulb of garlic, a lemon, a package of fresh dill, a cucumber, cherry tomatoes, a chunk of Parmesan cheese, and a bottle of olive oil. I was a little nervous. Salad up until this point in my life meant a bottle of dressing, a head of iceberg lettuce, and some chopped vegetables.
“My mom taught me how to make this salad and it’s so easy, it’s all we ever have.” She began filling the sink with cold water, while pulling and adding the lush leaves. I watched as she swished the leaves and then patted them dry with paper towel. I had met my friend Heidi while teaching her daughter in my first grade class a few years back and she now seemed like a big sister. “We’ll let it sit while we make the dressing.” I felt like I was being let in on a big secret…dressing.
She demonstrated how to pull off a clove of garlic, smash it with the side of a knife to release the papery skin, and peel it. Next, she chopped the clove into tiny pieces and tossed them into the bowl. The biting aroma smelled delicious. “Take about a teaspoon of salt and pour it into the bowl.” She took the rounded part of a dinner spoon and rubbed the garlic bits and salt up the sides of the bowl. “Like this?” ” I gave it a try. I felt just like a chef!
After that she cut the lemon in half and squeezed the juice into a measuring cup. “One part lemon juice to two parts olive oil,” my friend instructed. “Do you have a whisk?” I pulled out the shiny new utensil which had never been used. She taught me how to whisk the liquids into the bowl, blending in the garlic and salt. I pulled tiny dill leaves off of the stems and whisked them into the dressing while Heidi shredded the cheese. As I worked I thought how impressed my husband was going to be when I shared the salad with him. Heidi added the cheese and I added the dill. I whisked some more. We dipped our fingers in for a taste. “You can adjust the salt to your liking.” I tasted the dill and the tangy lemon and the fresh Parmesan. “I can’t believe we made this!” “It’s wonderful!” It was so good. I hugged her and thanked her again.
“Now, I’m going to leave and you can let Joe think you made this all by yourself,” she said as she hustled to the door. ” “Add the lettuce and slice the tomatoes and cucumbers in right before you eat.” “Toss it and serve.” I walked her to the door.
After she left I stared at the wooden bowl on my counter, so new, like everything else in my life. I leaned over it and inhaled the delicious secret just waiting to be shared.