Recently I discovered a calender of food events that are commemorated in the USA. I decided it would be fun to adopt a few here in the UK. Almost everything I make is intended for the rituals of eating and preparing food or drink. I can’t think of a better way of demonstrating why I make what I do, than inviting friends to join with me and my family to share home cooked food, served on the pots made here at Waun Hir Pottery. Salad bowls both large and small can be seen in the Tableware section of the Kitchen Pottery shop.
May is the month of salad – unfortunately much of the month was cold and wet though – not really salad weather. But now on the contrary, the last week has very definitely been salad weather – so before it’s too late here is my little tribute to all things green and leafy.
Food historians claim that as far back as the Romans and Greeks people have eaten mixed greens with dressing. Salads as main meals, or dinner salads as they are known today were known to be enjoyed by Renaissance folk. In more modern times salads became widespread in the second half of the nineteenth century in the USA, with other regions of the world adopting them in the second half of the twentieth century.
The term salad is derived from the Latin ‘sal’, meaning salt. This gave rise to ‘salata’, salted things, such as the raw vegetables eaten in classical times with a dressing of oil, vinegar and salt. The word salade was used in Old French and by the late 14th century the English word salad was born.
Salads may contain any number of combinations of ingredients, but etymologically the common link and reason for the name salad is the dressing. Indeed not much has changed; the Romans were fond eaters of raw vegetables with a simple dressing of oil, vinegar and often brine.
I must say I do love potato salad, Caesar salad, Niçoise salad or even fruit salad for dessert, but while it’s hot and that it certainly is for this sunny end to May, I fancy green leaves with oil and vinegar, just like the Romans enjoyed all those years ago.