Sunday, July 11, 2010

How to Make a Salad.... London Style

Oh how much we take for granted in the kitchen. After attending Holy Trinity last week for church, my roommate and I decided to sign up for their annual barbecue. We signed up to bring a salad... that can't be too hard right?

Task One: Find a bowl big enough to bring a salad in. If you are thinking this should have been the easiest part... think again. Why don't we just hop on the tube or bus and go to the dollar store, or Walmart or something, oh wait, this is London... they don't have those. Well, what about the grocery store, nope try again... after a week of searching finally we found a bowl at a random little shop that seemed to sell little bits of everything. The bowl was not exactly what we were looking for, but it would do.

Task Two: Decide on a type of salad. The word 'salad' encompasses quite a wide variety of dishes using everything from greens to beans, potatoes to tomatoes. Since we purchased a large bowl, we decided to make two salads to place in it, and division the bowl...somehow. We went for a relatively traditional approach: lettuce with toppings. We decided to make one with a 'sweet' theme and one with a veggie theme.

Task Three: Buy Ingredients. It took two stores to find lettuce that wasn't going brown, but we found some as well as the toppings for each salad. For the veggie salad we wandered around looking for cheap veggies to put on, and gathered some cucumber, carrot, tomato (yes I know they are a fruit), and broccoli as well as a bit of rocket just to make it look fancy. For the 'sweet' one we gathered cheese, raisins, and an apple. We also acquired a vinaigrette and an Italian dressing. So out of all these items, which was the hardest to find? If you're thinking one of the veggies, you lose. It was the raisins. Raisins, really. You would think they would be common and easy to find. Word of advice: it is easier to find dried blueberries in London, than dried grapes. Ah well, after much searching, and a few different stores, we found them.

Task Four: Prepare salad ingredients. Oh how we missed our home kitchens. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for our little kitchen sets, but how I would have loved to have had a cutting board and some bowls and a colander. I really did not appreciate how nice it is to be at home and just open up the cabinet and find any size bowl or strainer or a salad spinner that I may need (or raisins if I am looking in the food cupboard). We used every dish we had trying to wash and cut up our veggies. The entire kitchen counter was taken over by our venture.

Task Five: Assemble salad. Ok, so we had all the ingredients prepared, now we just needed to get it in the bowl... but how to keep the two sides separate... good thing you have two engineers preparing the salad! A little bit of aluminum foil and voila, a perfect bowl divider! Well, maybe not perfect... but at least it looked presentable (ish).
Don't worry, we didn't add the apple until right before it was served.

Task Six: Eat salad with fun companions! The barbecue ended up being a fabulous time, with great food and great fun to be had by all. My roommate and I were definitely the youngest there by a few years, but they were excited to have us and definitely an entertaining bunch:


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