Oh cold salads. How I love you in the summers. How do I love you all? Let me count the ways.
1. You make summer parties a snap. Like a few weeks ago when The Narrator requested a family lunch after the triathlon on his birthday. I assembled you all a day or two ahead of time. All packed neatly in bowls in the fridge, you made the race day party completely hassle free. We cheered on the sidelines, then rushed home to greet everyone for lunch. I pulled all of you out of the fridge and set you on the counter. Hungry triathletes and spectators hungry from watching racers work so hard devoured you in good form. Then I packed you all up and put you away. No oven, no stovetop, just pure cold refreshment assembled with leisure the day before. And everyone raved over the refreshing food on the warm sweaty day.
2. You make picnics in the woods taste gourmet. Mr Mighty bean salad all full of protein swimming in vinegar and spices, and you Pretty Pasta Salad with chunks of cheese and onion and peas swathed in white low-fat mayo, you made that picnic in the woods by Lake Michigan taste exceptionally delicious. Paired with the turkey burgers toasted over charcoal, this was no ordinary picnic of burgers and chips. Waiting for us in a cooler so patiently, you did your job of finishing off a day full of sun and sand with memorable gusto. Ravenous from a day full of play, you were the star of our dinner under the canopy of green.
3. I can eat you for weeks. Leftover in my fridge, you keep for a week, and some of you for two! And most of you give us the pleasure of tasting better after each day you marinate in your dressings of choice. I loved you the first time, and even more the second.
4. At impromptu gatherings you make my life easy. Like the time I ran 14 miles with my training partner, and we came home ravenous and empty of fuel, we paired your mighty leftovers from the picnic the day before with a takeout pizza. You hit the spot, taking pizza and making it into a full, well-rounded meal with your veggies and protein to supplement and soak up the grease and the bread.
5. You keep me cool and refreshed. What summer cook doesn’t hate to be stuck in the kitchen slaving over 450 degrees of heat? That’s why you, Mighty Bean Salad, dumped from cans and whisked together in healthy oil and vinegar are one of my favorites. Even you, Chilled Chicken Salad, after a quick stovetop visit for the chicken are rather easy to assemble. And you marinated veggies, chopped and dumped into a pool of vinegar – you all help me leave my shiny new oven feeling rather blue and alone. Never fear, she’s just on summer vacation and will be put to good use this fall, when this cook doesn’t mind the heat so much.