All summer I worked on providing an extra salad for lunch each weekday. Many have become weekly offerings, in addition to the tossed green salad. To the residents, many who've spent the better part of their lives avoiding salads and vegetables, they're a refreshing change from standard institutional fare.
The combination of common fruits and vegetables (cantaloupe, pear tomatoes and cucumbers, for instance) with fresh herbs (mint in this case) transformed individual flavors into new culinary adventures.
Success is often measured in small steps at work. There's always going to be one or two vocal residents who'll never touch anything green. "I don't eat no stinkin' vegetables, Chef Steve," was the refrain from one such resident all summer long.
"Steve, you're an odd duck," proclaimed another resident as she watched me place a large bowl the cantaloupe and tomato salad in the refrigerator several weeks ago.
The combination of cantaloupe chunks, pear tomato halves and diced cucumber may seem odd to some. But when coated with a minty, slightly sweet vinaigrette, about half the residents enjoyed the salad.
Sometimes the oddest combinations produce the best results. Cantaloupe and tomato salad helped me present the melon in a new form, one that the residents appreciated.
If that makes me an "odd duck," so be it!
Here is a list of salads that I've posted to 'Round the Chuckbox over the past several years. In addition to the salads that I worked on this summer, I've included several from my tenure at FC Camp.
Divide and Conquer
4 days ago