Is that fruit salad or just sliced fruit? (Provided Photo – Diane Chase)
This is the second column on lettuce, and I’m not even a food writer. With the holidays well behind us and the extended family safe in their own homes, I’m here to hit the gas. A salad must not contain marshmallows. It’s a dessert.
Let’s start with the basics. No parent yells at their children “Eat your marshmallows.” The formal definition of a salad may be up for debate, but throwing candy in a bowl and calling it a salad doesn’t make it a salad. It’s a pacifier.
You know I’m right Let’s take Ambrosia Salad as a reference. It’s just an example. I’m sure your recipe is fantastic. It’s still not a salad. Marshmallows automatically kick it out of the Salad category. Also, vegetables in a salad cannot be candied fruit. Next you’re going to tell me fruitcake is a protein. These statements are not scientifically based or are in the dictionary, but are opinions.
Please don’t approach me with your jello molds and canned fruit from the 1950s. Some things don’t need a comeback, like low rise jeans. Food made from non-food items and built around nostalgia are some of those things.
The Cambridge English Dictionary definition of lettuce is a mixture of uncooked vegetables or fruit, usually a salad, eaten as a separate dish or with other foods. A secondary definition lists lettuce as “Uncooked cold vegetables and ingredients cut into small pieces and mixed with mayonnaise like tuna or potato salad.” Merriam-Webster gets straight to the point, defining salad as a hodgepodge of ingredients, whether the final mix is served cold, contains vegetables, or is encased in gelatin. The last definition defines a potluck dinner rather than a salad course.
I fully support the dessert-first philosophy, but we need consistency. Some people prefer a salad as an appetizer, while others prefer it as a main course or side dish. There are also some of us who serve salad after the main course. There are reasons for the different study places. One group may feel that a salad served first may help fill people up faster, while a salad served last is said to help with digestion. It doesn’t matter when I eat a salad; I want to leave the marshmallows for the campfire s’mores. Enjoy!