Friday, May 21, 2010

Lift Your Forks

Magnet # 247:  The Year of Alabama Food

Material:  Rubber

Purchased By:  Me

Thanks to all of the tasty and nutritious fruits and veggies that are now in season, May is National Salad Month.  It's a great way to take advantage of some of the freshest crops we'll have all year.  And I though this magnet, with its very stylish graphic design, would be perfect to post for the occasion.  Apparently, each year the Alabama Tourist Department picks one aspect of the state to feature, but this is the only one from which I've got a magnet.  I wouldn't mind another - really this design is just so striking.

There are so many different varieties and kinds of salads that it's almost impossible to not find one to like.  Obviously, there are the more traditional styles that start with a bed of lettuce and are topped off with other veggies and maybe meat.  But salads go much farther than that.  There are pasta salads, fruit salads, potato salads, egg salads, bean salads, coleslaw, dessert salads made with whipped cream or gelatin, and so many more.  Salads can often be packed with nutrients like Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and antioxidants, and they can also be lowfat and low in calories.  So try coming up with a salad that's just right for you.  You can go with a green one and start with whatever sort of lettuce you like best - just remember, romaine is not all that nutritious.  Then add whatever veggies or fruits you like best - perhaps more standard ones like tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber, or try some different kinds like artichokes, avocados, and asparagus.  Next, toss in some protein like beans, eggs, or meat.  For meat, you can use pretty much any type - fish, poultry, pork, beef.  And don't forget to top it off with ingredients like bacon bits, sunflower seeds, or croutons, perhaps with some salad dressing.  And if that's not what interests you, try one of the many other versions of salads that are out there - heck, there's even a cookie salad that uses fudge striped shortbread cookies.  But perhaps that one should be eaten in moderation.

I love salads. Really, they are one of my favorite dishes. I'll fix them at home, or order them when I'm out at a restaurant. I prefer variety in my salads, but I'll often get a Greek salad, Caesar salad, or Cobb salad (with cheddar cheese instead of Blue cheese). One trick I've learned over the years is to always ask for my dressing on the side, as the preparers at some establishments will pretty much drown the dish in it. I'd much rather decide how much I want for myself and avoid having a puddle of dressing in the bottom of my salad bowl. It's always a good idea to be careful about dressing, because it can add lots of fat and calories to your meal.  Just remember, the lighter dressings that feature olive oil and vinegar tend to be better for your body than the creamy ones.  If you don't usually order a salad when you're out, perhaps giving it a try - even just once - might be a good idea to find out how tasty and satisfying they can be.

May is also National Barbecue Month, but, let's face it, it's really better for your health to have a salad. So if you want to celebrate this carnivorous event, perhaps you could start off with a salad or top your bed of lettuce with some barbecue. Your cardiologist will thank you. Yes, salads may never be as mouthwatering as a rack of ribs or a pile of pulled pork, but there are ways to make them as enjoyable for your tastebuds as they are for the rest of your body.  And creating a truly enjoyable salad that's just right for you may be easier than you ever imagined.


  1. Of course, you could combine two of your favorites with Jim 'N Nick's Pig in the Garden Salad which according to their menu - -
    "Our original pulled pork on a fresh mix of hand-cut lettuces, homemade croutons, cheddar, smoked bacon, almonds, and grape tomatoes. Feeling rebellious? Pick any of our Bar-B-Q meats." To that description I add YUM!

  2. Sounds like that will do an ideal job of combining the two monthlong events!