Tale of Two Salads

Sometime in 2001

Before leaving for work, Carol said, “I’m going to be late coming home and you’re going to be late, so we’ve got all the stuff, there’s the leftover Flank Steak, and a bag of spinach, that avocado, cherry tomatoes and stuff in the vegetable drawer, so we’ll throw together a Steak Salad.”

“Great,” sez I.


I was tired coming home, after closing the store at nine. It was about quarter to ten and Carol was watching The West Wing, the recipient of many Emmy Awards, recently. She said she had been too hungry, and had eaten about 9 o’clock, and presented me with the big wooden salad bowl. In it was lots of spinach, some cherry tomatoes, bits of celery and scallion. Near the stove, she pointed to a plate with some steak and mushrooms that had been sauteed in butter. “Just heat these in the skillet, throw them warm on the greens, slice this half-avocado on top, throw on some Newman’s, and there you have it.”

Well, unlike some folks—Carol’s father my most memorable example—I can’t walk in the door from work, sit down and eat dinner. I need to put my feet up, preferably with a small scotch, and let the cares of the day flow out, and let the joys of home and wife and the anticipation of a fabulous dinner wash over me. And I did this, further accompanied by the aforementioned small scotch, the San Francisco Examiner, The West Wing and occasional banter with Carol, especially during commercials, since she was quite into the show. After the Ten O’clock News came on, we were free to banter at will.


About quarter past, I went into the kitchen and surveyed the salad scene. Not my kinda salad. I removed about half of the spinach, went to the vegetable drawer and rummaged around. I sliced a stalk of celery, two scallions, two heads of endive, a few radishes and a cucumber, and threw those into the bowl and tossed. I got an oval plate out of the cupboard and placed it next to the salad bowl, picked up the bottle of Newman’s and started to shake. The bottle was slippery and I dropped it on the plate, breaking the plate. I cleaned that up, dressed the salad, tossed again and got another plate. I warmed the steak and mushrooms, dumped them in the bowl, tossed again and dumped all that on the plate, sliced the avocado on top—it was very ripe—salted and peppered, took my plate to the dining room and… oh boy, was that good. At the end, there were only a few leaves of spinach remaining.

Thus, the Tale of Two Salads. Given the same stuff at hand, Carol will make a nice, leafy, fluffy ensemble, while I will choose a robust, chunky, hearty, vegetabley concoction.

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