by Mary Jane Butters

Salad Spoon -- Now that you've eaten way too many sweets during the holidays, it's time for salad. Lots of it. Why? Because edible greens contain something your body loves called chlorophyll which is best known for its ability to cleanse your blood and eliminate toxins. When you eat a salad made from many different kinds of greens, you are eating a vast spectrum of essential vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, antioxidants, pigments, amino acids and more. Dark leafy green vegetables are also high in calcium. In years past, it was not unusual for the family doctor, seeing a child with poorly developing teeth but who drank large quantities of milk, to say, "Go home and eat lots of greens like mustard or dandelion greens, and cut down on milk."

If you want those you love, including yourself, to eat more salad greens, then toss your salad forks into permanent hibernation. The secret to the plentiful partaking of salad greens is ... "the salad spoon"... as in soup spoon.

Think about the last salad you ate. Maybe you tore up pieces of romaine or iceberg lettuce and added a bit of red leaf lettuce for some color. It needed to be healthy, so you added some carrots. For gourmet flavor, you added some feta or Parmesan cheese. Instead of relaxing to enjoy your meal, the chase was on. With your salad fork, you started chasing bits of flavor around your plate. The feta chunks broke in half every time you forked one and so did some of the carrots. Determined to eat your salad, you forked a piece of lettuce, then used the fork like a spoon. Somehow you got the lettuce in the shape of a mini-bowl to hold some dressing and a piece of feta cheese and a carrot. Just as you got the stack to your mouth, the piece of lettuce proved too big and the corner caught the side of your mouth, dumping the extras back onto your plate. You looked up to see if anyone noticed your clumsiness. Taking a break from the work of eating your salad, you headed for the bread plate.

Quit making yourself eat salad. Simply retool and rethink this extraordinary food. Go shopping and buy kale, parsley, tat soi, napa cabbage, beet greens, collard greens, basil, mizuna, spinach, chard, arugula, and even dandelion greens, if you can find them. For extra nutrition, flavor and fun, chop up some red cabbage, zucchini, beets, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, fennel, avocado, cucumbers, and sun chokes. In the summer, you can get more imaginative, adding sorrel, good King Henry, and common weeds like lamb's quarters and chickweed which is higher in calcium than most dairy products. Wash and cut the stems off your treasures and put everything on a large cutting board. Then chop them with a large knife. Before you start chopping, stop and think about the size of bowl it would take to hold all of it. It'll probably be the size of your largest mixing bowl, not the size of salad you usually eat. Once it's chopped, it will fit into a normal salad bowl. You'll be eating three to four times more salad this way. Chop all of it, using a rocking motion until the wondrous parts are quite small and fit for a spoon. Put it into a bowl and add some olive or flax oil and balsamic vinegar. (Never use flax oil that is bitter. If it's bitter, it has become rancid.) If you're fixing breakfast, add some apple chunks or raisins. If it's dinnertime, add some chunks of cooked potatoes, rice or lentils. Try some hardboiled eggs or tofu. Add a bit of nutritional yeast. If it's summer, visit your flower patch for edible petals, which are small and won't need to be chopped. If you are having guests over for dinner, and you want your salad to look fancy, flowers will add a gourmet touch. Try the petals of pansies, sunflowers, roses, hollyhocks, calendula, and bachelor buttons. (Garden stores sell chemicals for flowers that are poisonous. If chemicals have been applied to your flower patch, either by you or the garden store where you initially bought your plants, your flowers aren't edible.)

Eat a big bowlful with a spoon. Given a spoon, your children will eat more salad. Eating salad with a spoon on a regular basis fuels their body (and yours) with critical nutrients. You may even find yourselves eating salad with every meal.

Chewelah Winterfest @ Chewelah

Sat., Feb. 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
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