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Blog

SALAD DAYS & SALAD NIGHTS

Suzanne Pollak

Salads are a life staple, so that means salad accoutrements are too.

Dean Pollak has lived long enough to know she has constructed over 25,000 salads. We will not divulge how we arrived at that number -- math is not our strong suit -- but it is absolutely accurate and means you should pay attention.

There are many reasons we insist that you take note of your salad bowls, salad servers, pepper grinders and salt cellars. Foremost, all the paraphernalia is essential in making salads addictive, beautiful, fun to construct, and will get your family on the daily salad wagon without rebuttal. Health concerns are the least of the reasons our lunchroom serves a big bowl everyday. We like fattening salads. We like thinning salads. We like beautiful salads. We like bread salads, also known as panzanella. But we like playing with wooden bowls, like the ones at The-Commons, around the corner on Broad Street, most of all!

Who doesn’t long to fill a gorgeous handmade bowl? Even kids do and will. A big wooden bowl is a thing of beauty. In fact, the only thing more beautiful is several wooden bowls nesting in each other, letting you choose how many people will eat your salad.

Collections are fun to start. We suggest that if you haven’t collected anything yet, you begin with salad bowls. Let us be your guides. As with any collection, done carefully over years, a collection swells and takes up real estate, so the objects might as well be useful to use and beautiful to look at. Handmade bowls will make your kitchen feel more grounded, your knowledge of wood expand, your waistline shrink, your menu decisions easier. Plus, the number of guests eating salad can start at one or grow to twenty -- three full 18-inch bowls will easily feed a crowd.

You can never go wrong serving a salad, whether it's a simple green one or a confetti of colors and surprises. They always delight.

A few suggested themes:

  • Color, e.g. Yellow - yellow beets (roasted early in the day or even a day before, sliced thickly or cubed), wedges of yellow heirloom tomatoes, croutons count as yellow, slices of pear.
  • Simple Green – sliced endive and watercress tossed with blue cheese.
  • Seasonal, e.g. Fall - roasted root vegetables tossed with escarole, radicchio, red cabbage, topped with rare cold steak.

Ancient Wisdom: Get your kids on the job of helping in the kitchen and a green leaf just might make it past their lips.

  • Toddlers can toss the salad. The utensils pictured above are especially easy and fun for little kids to use.
  • Elementary school-aged children can become proficient in washing lettuce in a salad spinner.
  • Middle schoolers can try their hand with knives -- chopping, peeling, and slicing.
  • High schoolers can and should be in charge of dinner at least once a week. Let them dream up their own salad...even if it ends up being popcorn salad, do not judge!

Finally, here are a few Academy salads from the vault...

Happy Healthy!