Plus, salad helps fill you up so you don’t overload on carbs and fats and thick steaks and ice cream and everything else that tastes so much better than stupid lettuce…
Just kidding! Well, no I’m not.
Not about lettuce, anyway. Lettuce bores me. Even the stuff that costs too much to call lettuce. This is because I’m Armenian. Robyn, of course, is also Armenian and she likes lettuce just fine. She thinks I’m just odd.
Well, maybe. But while I’ve never been to Armenia, I have it on good authority that there’s no lettuce in a real Armenian salad.
When you think about it, there wasn’t much point cultivating lettuce when the hills were covered in a fresh, wild greens free for the picking. Unfortunately, there are no wild salad greens in the hills near our house. In fact, there are no hills.
But the rest of the traditional Armenian salad ingredients are easy to come by: cucumbers, peppers, onions, parsley and tomatoes. What makes them Armenian?
Technique, for one thing. Everything should be chopped and about the same size. This isn’t just for looks. Dicing the veggies releases more of the juices into a natural dressing. You could be very satisfied adding nothing but perhaps a dash of salt.
Herbs are also very Armenian, lending an echo of those wild greens. Basil, dill, fresh mint — what’s growing in your yard?
Now add a squeeze of lemon — or sumac for a real Old Country touch. And a splash of olive oil.
That’s it. No trick at all.
This is a salad even I’ll eat. It’s so good, I don’t even mind adding in some lettuce, just to make my wife happy.
Shepherds of long ago created meals of wild greens and herbs as they sought nourishment…