Last week I traveled with my sister and daughters to Colorado to visit my younger brother’s family. I do love my crazy weasel niece and nephews but the real reason I went was to see the giraffes. Some people would fly to Kenya to view them at a preserve, but you know what? Colorado is closer, and not only am I in my lite rock and lite beer years, I am also in my lite adventure years. Do I need to take malaria tablets before I go somewhere? Then I am not going there. I see it as my contribution to restoring America’s international reputation: who wants another American tourist wailing demands for wi-fi and soy milk?
When we arrived at my brother’s house, my SiL – a woman who has domesticity down to both an art and a science – had stuffed the fridge with vegetables. Long acquaintance with our family has given her familiarity with our ungulate ways. For the herbivorous Perry clan, there is no such thing as a side salad. Salad is the center, so just consider the amount you would make for anyone else, triple that, and get ready to chew.
I know I just wrote about salad in The Salad of Destiny, but sometimes destiny strikes twice. I read once that mixing lettuce types is a key to successful salad-making. I read that salad article instead of the “How to Get a Beach Body in Five Minutes” article. * I don’t have five minutes for that nonsense, but I do have time to make a salad that promiscuously mingles leaves.
And as I learned the next day at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, I am not the only creature with a pressing and perpetual hankering for greens. These elegant, impossibly tall creatures, who actually seem to float along, are committed, enthusiastic herbivores. I chose the one with the most polite tongue and offered this long-lashed ruminant some romaine. It was a delightful moment. I envied her height, her fetching coat, and her four stomachs. I think she was less impressed with me.
We don’t choose what form we take in this world. Some of us get a beach body, some of us get cloven hooves. But in this human form, we are given the ability to appreciate. We are able to admire, and I did. To behold an animal so lovely was worth the flight, and were I more bold, it would be worth a flight all the way to Kenya.
One head Bibb or Boston lettuce, gently torn
One head iceberg, chopped (optional)
a couple cups mixed salad leaves of whatever kind you like
a few mini peppers, sliced into rings
a few stalks of asparagus, raw or blanched, and chopped
a few snap peas, sliced
fresh herbs like parsley, mint, or lovage, chopped
a splash of white balsamic or rice vinegar
splash of pumpkin seed oil (optional)
salt to taste
Mix. Serve to ungulates.
*Hint: A five-minute beach body is achievable with an airbrush. Or, in the interest of time, shave off five minutes and go out there with the body you have. Spend the five minutes you get back shaving some parmesan over your salad, and don’t bother shaving your legs.