While I kneel alongside the tender baby leaves, my mind wanders back to the prairie kitchen where my grandmother stands. In her kitchen there were no bottled dressings- heaven forbid "Ranch" be found there. Convenience food was a waste of time and a hindrance to health. Today I heartily agree with her, forgoing the conveniences and making much of my own. However, there is one thing I never could quite find agreement with- her 'wilted salad'.
There in the garden between the onion stalks and Doc's pen, my nose wrinkled up and my mouth puckered at the remembrance of that dreadful salad. Beautiful greens that had grown from tiny seed were fresh picked and thoroughly washed. What happened next, I'm sure, was an abomination to nature. White vinegar was boiled with sugar and other dreadful things before assaulting the greens in a most vile manner. The smell of that dressing permeated every fiber of your being and caused a violent shiver that reached deep into your soul.
Mealtime would find me seated with dread as that vile smell overpowered every morsel before me. My heart broke at the sight of that lettuce- once so crisp and fresh- now wilted and pathetic looking. Hours would be spent starting at that mess on my plate - you didn't leave until you finished, of course. Choking down that horrible disaster was a test of my grit and a scar on your taste buds.
My husband laughs at the recollection of such things- he is quit sure my naughtiness was to blame for it, after all, the salad couldn't have been that bad. Fortunate for him, I have no copy of that recipe to torture him with- not yet, anyway.