The holiday season that is upon us is the one time of the year when most of us happily give into a spirit of willful blindness regarding our diet, eagerly scooping up extra helpings. There’s turkey and ham, rolls with butter, ladles of gravy, rich cheeses and creamy dips and buttery mashed potatoes; even brussels sprouts are cooked with lardons. Keeping this in mind, perhaps it is a good idea to make sure there is a big, good old fashioned salad bowl on your table, encouraging your family and friends to dig in. Think of those gorgeous salad bowls from the 70’s, maybe gracing the Brady Bunch table. One of those will surely encourage everyone to get some greens on their plate.
In Canada, the go-to salad equipment was manufactured by a Quebec company called Baribocraft. Founded in Quebec in 1922 by Herve Baribeau, Baribocraft and Baribo-Maid wood products were all made of good, solid woods like maple and teak, and became the largest manufacturer in Canada of salad bowls, salt and pepper grinders, cheese boards and carving boards. Sadly, they shut down operations in the seventies, just as their ubiquity had reached a tipping point. The good news is, since the products were so well made, simple, solid and of the finest wood, most items, now several decades old, are still as good as new, and can be found with relative ease in specialty stores or online.
A beautiful large bowl full of healthy, fresh lettuces and veggies presented with a choice of salad dressings may be just the ticket this year to add some common-sense wow factor to your dinner while possibly preventing a case of over-indulgence, or scurvy.
When it comes to choosing the ingredients for your salad, keep it light and retro and very colourful. A mix of radicchio, watercress, spinach and sprouts makes a great base, over this lay concentric slices of cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, radishes and carrot coins and be sure to not overfill your bowl: you’ll need plenty of room to toss the salad and then serve it into individual bowls. A salad filled to the halfway mark is ideal for a group of 6-8.
And what dressing to use? A simple, light vinaigrette works well, so you would do well to eschew blue cheese, dressing, or Thousand calorie-oops, thousand Island-remember, the salad should be a sort of antidote to all that rich eating, slightly hydrating and serving, in a sort of preventative way, to ease the pain of overdoing it. But it should still be pretty, and delicious, just like the rest of your feast.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 garlic clove, minced
3/4 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Put all ingredients in a jar and shake well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over salad, toss and serve immediately.