You don’t win friends with salad, do you?

You do. My grandmother made friends for life with salad. As soon as the temperatures reached summer level, she summoned her husband into the garden to find the best crop of them all. Their five grandchildren deserved only the very best.

My grandparents’ house was a playground paradise. Right behind their farm-like home was a plantation of apple trees that has functioned as a labyrinth, home for dragons, bicycle path, castle’s garden, running track and soccer field over the years. We stopped training dragons and climbing apple trees a while ago, but that’s mainly because most of us are scared of heights and imaginary creatures now. Not at all because my grandfather has gotten old. His cane is just mental support.

Playing, bike riding and murdering each other makes people hungry, so when my grandmother yelled out “FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD” we would come down from the trees and run to the table. ‘Foooooooooooood’ ment salad, and where I grew up salad ment eggs and ham. Dr. Seuss would be proud, I suppose.

When it came to feeding her descendants, the woman pulled out the big guns. Starvation is real in the eyes of grandmothers. Her weapon of choice? A jar of mayonnaise so big we weren’t sure we could ever finish. Store-bought, not homemade. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Limiting a meal to mayonnaise apparently went too far, even for people who had survived the war. Dollops of mayonnaise were decorated with some green leaves and tomatoes and finished with slices of ham and a hard boiled egg.  As any person born before 1940 would confirm, packing up on carbohydrates is vital for surviving any summer day.

My grandparents are in their 80’s now. The tables are turned and they come over for food more often than we do. But summer days still stand for salad. And no matter how much I love the kales and avocados of this world,  every once in a while I still turn to the comfort food I know. And I will never cut down on mayonnaise. That’s a promise.

The recipe?

  • a crop of salad, preferably from your garden or anybody else’s. Or a bag. It’s 2016.
  • a few tomatoes, same.
  • 1 egg per person, hard-boiled but still a bit runny on the inside.
  • mayonaise, only from a jar you think is too big.

Wash your vegetables, peel your eggs, roll up the ham and throw all the ingredients together on a plate. The throwing part is important. My grandmother frowns upon people who value esthetics more than taste. She’s the best.


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