I have a weird relationship with salad. Growing up, it was only ranch dressing, iceberg lettuce and croutons (my favorite part). My cousin Jonathan and I would skip right to the ranch with croutons at Sizzler. The plate swimming in dressing is what he called "ah-weet-waht." I'm still not sure what it meant, but there I was eating it by the forkful with a 3 year old. I guess that's it, isn't it? I've the salad acuity of a three year old.
Eating raw vegetables was somewhat of a foreign concept to my family and I. You only ate vegetables at fancy parties as cruditè, where the ranch was in a bowl in the middle. It was just a new appropriation of where to put the ranch! When I was 8 years old, on my first trip to New York City, my grandma Tita taught me how to make Thousand Island. It was lost on me because all I wanted to dip it in were french fries.
Fast forward to apartment life in Brooklyn. I'm an adult and I'm watching my roommate Jeff make a salad in his underwear. We have this set of mixing bowls and he picks the largest one. He chops a bunch of vegetables with romaine, makes a mustard dressing and proceeds to sit on the couch with this giant salad that takes up the whole of his lap. My job at the time was in the city and one afternoon, my coworker asked if I wanted to try that place "Chop't." I got stars in my eyes about adding fried chicken with ranch and arugula. When it rang up, the bucket of shredded mess was about $15. I was flabbergasted at our culture of "individual abundance." It took me about two meal sittings to finish the darn thing. There was a line out the door at this place and while the bucket salad is a relatively new trend, the idea of the "salad bar" is not. I'm not sure where the shift from side dish to full-on salad meal happened but I was suddenly starting to think I wasn't a salad person.
Yes, this blog is called "Randwiches," and I believe that we all have our choices what media in which we express ourselves. Cue the random email I got from Salad For President! I was excited to get an invitation to make salads on the roof at MoMA PS 1 with many rad food friends like Sarah Keough, Mitchell Kuga and one my idols, Alex Raij. Nervous like it was a first date, I over prepared a bunch of toppings and condiments. My results weren't so much salads but piles.
Here are my entries for that fateful evening:
- Edible garden pickings from the MoMA PS1 Roof
- Our hostesses from Salad For President: Julia Sherman & Camilla Hammer
- My Takotsubo apron
- Adobo Beef & Merguez salad pile
- Vegetarian salad pile
Perhaps if we redefine salads to be simple piles that aren't exclusively lettuce, I think we would be calling this blog Saladwiches, Ranchwiches or "ah weet-waht."
Photos by the most awesome Trinh Huynh.