At ground level

A column about LIFE

First crop

My first crop from my garden.

I was so excited yesterday. In between my busy schedule I harvested the first crop from my raised garden. I decided to snip my lettuce right away before the bugs and squirrels sensed there was something edible there to eat. Then, after washing it well, I made my favorite – wilted lettuce salad.

There is a story behind my wilted lettuce salad. The first time I tasted this particular kind of salad was at the home of my in-laws the first year I was married. It was my then husband’s favorite, so like a good wife, I attempted to make it when we harvested our crop from our own garden.

Since I was only familiar with iceberg lettuce salad and bottled dressing, I wasn’t real sure how to make this wilted lettuce salad dressing. There was no Internet then, and my mother-in-law didn’t really have a recipe that I could follow to the letter. I was just supposed to eyeball it, she said. The proportion of bacon and the blend of oil, vinegar, water and sugar depended on the amount of lettuce we wanted to have for our meal. That amount would vary from one huge 32-cup Tupperware bowlful of lettuce to a couple of pints more or less.

I tried multiple times to get the mixture right, but would always fail. Each time I failed, the other half would chastise me. Finally, at the dinner table one summer day, hot, tired, angry, exasperated and feeling like my efforts were never appreciated, I pushed the gallon bowl filled with soggy lettuce swimming in oil toward him and sternly said, “Eat it!” He knew I meant business. He didn’t say a word and dutifully ate every bit of it.

Eventually, I was able to perfect the dressing, with the combination of oil, vinegar, water and sugar proportionate to the amount of lettuce I served. Years later, we would recall that time and chuckle. It was one of the times I appreciated his obliging me and eating that awful concoction I had made. Now that I know better, I wouldn’t wish that moment on anyone!

Last night, my warm mixture of oil, vinegar, water and sugar was perfect the first time around. Topped with bacon bits, the salad was delicious. Even my sister, who is visiting from the Philippines, was impressed. We had enough for a couple of generous servings – just right to start off a good meal.

After yesterday’s rain, I see that my lettuce has sprouted up once more. We may be able to have more salad in a few days!

Wilted lettuce salad, topped with bacon bits and perfect the first time around!

June 5, 2011 - Posted by | Life | , , , , ,

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