Diana made a beautiful steak salad for dinner last night. It was beautiful not just because it was delicious, which it was, but for the artistic way it was presented. I could not help but reminisce about the salads I ate as a child.
My family lived in rural northern Minnesota prior to modern conveniences, such as electricity. We did not have fresh green vegetables to eat from early winter to the next spring. There was no available grocery store, and without electricity, we had no refrigerators nor freezers.
Potatoes, carrots, turnips, and beets could be kept in root cellars, or in cool places under the house during winter. Every other vegetable and most meats were canned, salted, smoked, or fermented. Thus, a common meal would consist of bacon (ham or fish), potatoes, carrots, canned corn (peas, beans, tomatoes), canned meats, pickles (relishes), sauerkraut, and baked goods, jams and jellies. By today’s standards, a glaring omission to this type of diet would include all fresh fruits and vegetables.
In early spring, my family considered it very special to add a green salad to each meal. This salad, in the beginning, consisted of one to two inch tall lettuce sprouts long with any newly sprouted wild plants that they could find. These vegetables were usually served with vinegar and sugar.
I fondly reminisce about these early days in my life. Would I like to return to them? I don’t think so.