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How I traded potato, rice and bread to: salad

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This weekend we had some friends visiting, and as usual, we didn't prepare with some extra food, just thought they will eat what we eat. For Saturday lunch, we made some salad, with smoked trout (called Forelle here), and fruits for dessert.

SURPRISE
They were very surprised (to eat salad for lunch), and asked how we cook. My wife started to think, and replied, actually we rarely "cook", we prepare most food as a salad or very fast.
They asked: "No potatoes?"
And we realized that actually we eat salad as side dish for almost every main meal, and sometimes just as main course.
They were surprised, but then we were surprised that they are surprised.
Then I realized that for most people here in Central-Europe, a main meal means meat (usually Wiener Snitzel, Frankfurter type or Goulash style) with potatoes, rice, or bread. Either as french fries, cooked, baked or steamed. But potato, or rice.
Compared to that, we are quite off-track.

EXTRA VIRGIN
I remember about 3 years ago, when I started to make my first salad. I had not the kitchenware to do it, had no clue what to put in, and seemed like a kind of a magic to make a salad similar in look and taste like those in a restaurant. It was not tasty at all, it was a bit "harsh", but it was green. I had to "force" myself to eat salad, and look up some "special" recipes, and was lost among store shelves hunting for ingredients I never heard of before.
But slowly, my salad-plane took off, and started to fly. First just nearby the base airport, but then onto new cities.

WHILE IN BARCELONA
The next milestone was about two years ago. I was on a course, and had dinner with others. I had salad for dinner the night before, and I was hesitating to choose salad again on the menu. Sylvia, a friend from Barcelona, was wondering what takes me so long to order. I explained my problem. "Salad after salad?!" She replied that actually they eat every night a salad as default, so she doesn't see any issue with my choice to be.

It hit me - salad to be the default?

And then I decided to try it for a week, salad is the default option for dinner.
It was good so I prolonged the trial for two weeks.
Then for a month.
Then for two month.
Then even longer.
At some point, I think I forgot that it was a kind of a task to eat salad for dinner, because I don't recall anymore to prolong that trial.
Now, it's the default option.

GETTING TO GRIPS
I don't need recipes anymore, I just shop for some interesting fresh ingredients, also depending the season, the weather, and how I feel, and then mix and match for a good taste, look, nutrition.
Over time, I fine tuned what tastes good with what, and also fine tuned the proportions. To keep it varied, I tend to vary the base leaves, the oil used, and protein.

PORTION CONTROLLER
Of course, I still use measuring spoons to add oil, I count the number of sprays of the "Acetato Balsamico" smelly whatever, measure the added vegetables on the digital scale, add green leaves, corn, beans etc. by predefined portions.
To save time, I usually make two bowls in parallel, for today, and tomorrow, and store the right portions for each meal.
We also have on the plan to buy a proper slicer machine, to speed up slicing, and to give something to my gadget-loving side.

In the nutrition tracker, I used to have food groupings for salad, but lately I started to enter "recipes".

My advice to newbies in salad land:
1. Get the necessary kitchenware
2. Try, try, try
3. Embrace your rabbit side

Here's the salad (ie the potato - rice kind of stuff on my plate for others) of today:


Recipe on SP:
recipes.sparkpeople.com/
recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2
517927


Are you a salad eater?
What's your favourite?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINIEMIE 7/16/2013 6:18AM

    We grew up with meat, potatoes, vegetable and salad. Salads are a basic food for me. I have not quit eating potatoes, brown rice but I don't eat a lot of bread usually-unless in Europe where it's good.
I like to cut a cold potato into my salad sometimes when I feel like I need the carbs. I need to work on enhancing my salads so they can become the main course instead of a side.
Thanks for the inspiration.
What are the little white balls in your salad?
emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/16/2013 6:21:14 AM

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ITS_MY_TURN_NOW 6/27/2013 9:13AM

    Great blog! Thank you for sharing.
I just started having salads for my "default" dinner almost 2 months ago. I love how easy and flexible it is. I can add any vegetables, cooked or raw, to my greens and protein. It works really well for me because I cook for my son and husband and they are both thin and blessed with fast metabolisms so I add potatoes, pasta and rice for them.


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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 6/25/2013 9:45PM

    My husband just retired a couple weeks ago, but while he was working we both ate big salads every day for lunch. I would make four at a time that would last two days for both of us.

We have been traveling non-stop since he retired, but once things settle back down, we will be right back at salads as a default for our lunches.

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ALDEBARANIAN 6/25/2013 5:56PM

    Wow! You've come a long way! Now it's about time to take your salads out of the laboratory experiment phase, and start cooking. emoticon I bet by now you're familiar enough with flavors and textures that you can put them in "by eye" or by what your body tells you it wants/needs today.

There's no store-bought dressing can match a nice, fresh oil and vinegar. All it takes is a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil tossed in first, followed by a splash of a good vinegar - apple cider, balsamic, tarragon, etc. Salt, pepper, herbs and spices can be mixed into the vinegar, but never salt before the oil, or it'll draw the water out of your lettuce, and make your salad soggy. emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/25/2013 5:59:23 PM

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GETSTRONGRRR 6/25/2013 5:39PM

    Good for you! I've switched to the same mentality....lots of greens, less starches!

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TORTISE110 6/25/2013 4:46PM

    Good for you! Works for us too. Loving summer and all the fresh produce to make salads as well.

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03BFISCHER 6/25/2013 3:54PM

    I love salads! I eat one everyday at work for lunch. Mine are not fancy and I don't eat any dressing. I prep all my salads for lunch on Sunday. When I am in school, I also prep a salad for the nights I have class. I would eat salads for lunch and dinner most days if I didn't have little children and a husband to feed when I got home. I wish I could get my husband to eat more salads. He is really not big on salads. My daughter loves to share mine when I do eat one around them. I have a hard time getting her to eat cooked veggies. But you give her raw and she is all over it.

Thank you for sharing your salad story!

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WIZKEY 6/25/2013 3:26PM

    My husband and I have a "salad bar" about 3 nights a week. I lay out all the ingredients and we make our own. It is fun and delicious!!

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ADRIENALINE 6/25/2013 2:43PM

    I loved your salad making story and the your salad looks truly beautiful. I used to dislike salad at home until I figured out that it was the store bought salad dressing that I detested. Now I make my own salad dressing for every salad and we usually have salad at every dinner.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NWFL59 6/25/2013 2:35PM

    I like the way you prepare your salads and that eating them is your default meal with the other things, such as meat/fish as more of a compliment to them rather than being the main part of the meal. I too choose to have salads as the main course of my larger meals . emoticon

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KRISZTA11 6/25/2013 2:33PM

    Good for you!
emoticon
This salad looks beautiful with those bright colors.

I'm not as creative as you are, but I too make sure the major part of my dinner is some raw or steamed vegetable.
: )

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