Salad Sparring

I’m not a big fan of salads. Sometimes, I go on a kick for spinach or Cobb salads, but not often. I find it’s too much work. Recently, I ate at a place where each entrée came with a salad. Okay, I thought. I’ll see how this goes.

The server brings out the food. Once he is safely out of my range, I reach for my salad fork, studying the items before me. Looking down, I can’t always figure out what is what. The silicone oil in my eye shifts and distorts my vision just as I squint to try to make it out.

I smell the vinaigrette dressing. I see shades of green and white. I don’t perceive any of those whole cherry tomatoes that can go flying with one wrong jab. I muster the courage to take my first stab, hoping that the greens were cut down. I want to manage the mouthful without that awkward moment when the lettuce stalk strikes the roof of my mouth.

I pack a few leaves on my tines and stuff them into my mouth. Mmmm. It tastes good. The tangy dressing mixes with the peppery lettuce. Everything is crisp.

A limited amount of time remains to attack the rest of it. The longer the dressing soaks into the salad, the less likely I’ll be able to pierce more leaves onto my fork. Who knew eating salad could be so complicated?

I tune out the conversation around me and dig in. I pray I don’t look crazed as I try to work my fork as fast as I can to collect roughage like a trash picker on work release with an empty bag.

After a few minutes, I take a peek at my husband’s plate and notice he appears to be finishing up. I glance down at my plate. Most of the green bits are gone, only thin, white, crunchy things are left. It’s hard to tell for sure because they sit on a clear plate, which sits on a white tablecloth. White food on a white tablecloth equals low contrast.

I decide to abandon the rest of the pieces. I can tell the plant matter reached critical mush anyway. Enough. I put my weapon down and reenter the conversation.

“What did you order, again?” a fellow at the table asks, looking over at me.

“I ordered the fish,” I answer, trying to free a bit of romaine out of my back teeth.

“Aren’t you going to finish your apples?” he asks, leaning in towards me, staring at my dish.

Apples? I think. I glance down. I’m looking at those crunchy things that look like onions to me. “No, I’m done with my salad. I get tired of fighting with it.”

My husband pinch-hits for me from across the table, “She can’t see it.”

The fellow leans back, nodding. Or at least that’s what I think he does. I am still trying to determine if the white things are all over my plate. Not onions, but apples. I guess the dressing mingled flavors.

I smile as the server approaches to clear the course, taking one more salad out of my life. For my next meal challenge, I hope I will encounter an easy-to-eat tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad.

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