REAL WOMEN EAT LETTUCE (+ SHERRY HONEY VINAIGRETTE)

On Monday, Sara wrote her thoughts on fashion and designing for real people with different body types. We’ve written before ‘On Beauty’ and the comeback of pin-up style. Even though media representations might make you feel differently, the fact is that women come in so many beautiful shapes and sizes. This is a deeply important and significant subject, and will be a recurrent theme for us this year. Our journal is a platform to share our views and opinions on any matter of the body (and mind), and we always encourage you to share your own stories and thoughts in the comments section.

It’s the New Year (10 days in already), a time when many of us reflect on our life in the past year, resolve to find peace in each day, and to look ahead to new goals and achievements. 99.9% of the time, weight loss is a top goal for resolutions in the New Year.

Diet. Eat salad. Lose weight. Be skinny.

This is what we read in magazines and see on television. We are told to do this to look a certain way – the IDEAL way that women are supposed to look. (Read the comments here.)  If you need to lose, do it because you love yourself. Find your own way (maybe through exercise and healthy eating). Walk, do yoga, join a gym or go for a hike, count calories – or don’t. Grow your own food and know what you are putting into your body and where it came from. Yes, there is a difference between living a healthy lifestyle and consuming only lettuce and carrot sticks.

I tilled up my fall garden a few weeks ago, preparing to plant the first cool weather crop of the New Year: lettuce.

I’ve begun conjuring up recipes with what I will make with the season’s vegetables and how I will eat better for myself. I happen to like lettuce. (No, not only stick thin women eat lettuce, as we are sometimes led to believe. And not all salads are healthy.)

Most of our studio lunches are accompanied by a hearty salad with an assortment of vegetables. I’m not a vegetarian, but I think I could easily live off of salads because I ENJOY them, not because I feel forced to eat them.  And if I can’t get into the swing of another detox, I can do well for myself by making my own homegrown salads.

In Frank Stitt’s Southern Table, Frank writes, “Salads are a window to the soul of a chef. They are about delicacy and restraint, about what’s in season, about adding only what is vital, nothing extraneous.”

I found the perfect medley of leafy greens through Seed Savers Exchange. The variety includes Gold Rush (for adding texture to salads), Rouge d’hiver (a French heirloom), Flame (a unique variety), Grandpa Admire’s (mild in flavor), and Très Fine Maraîchère (a delicately flavored endive). I’ll plant these beside the arugula that I saved seeds from this past autumn.

Once I collect my first harvest, I plan on eating big salads every day (or almost), complete with a variety of flavors, colors, and textures. Perhaps I can convince my son to make a round of farm cheese. Our studio will be eating all of this with salad dressing in unmeasured amounts. Salad can be a healthy lifestyle choice; it can be a hearty meal or a sweet side dish. It should never be flavorless or used as a way to deny yourself.

Real women eat lettuce.

Here is an adaptation of Frank’s Recipe for Sherry-Honey Vinaigrette, which we ate with the salad for our studio lunch last week.

Frank also says, “Herbs and lettuces are the easiest of all the gardening enterprises, requiring the least amount of time and work, so I urge you to try and develop your own little patch outside your back door, or in a window box, or even in a few small pots on a fire escape, if that’s all that space will allow.”

My oregano is already green and flourishing (go figure, 75° in January), so we added some to the recipe.

SHERRY-HONEY VINAIGRETTE

2 tablespoons rosemary vinegar (Frank calls for sherry vinegar in the title but see our recipe below for flavored vinegar)
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon oregano
2 chives, finely sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, honey, herbs, and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. (The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)

ROSEMARY PEPPER VINEGAR

While making rosemary vodka last month, I made some flavored vinegar at the same time.  Simply boil white or sherry vinegar, let cool to lukewarm, pour over washed herbs inserted into a sterilized bottle. Make sure that your herbs are completely submerged with the vinegar. Cap and store for a few weeks for a more integrated flavor or start to use straight away if needed.

I like to use leftover wine bottles as our local recycling center doesn’t take glass (imagine) and I like the visual of the herbs suspended in this long form;  but, you can use any jar or recycled bottle with a lid or recycled wine corks. These bottles of flavored vinegar make great hostess gifts in combination with our tea towels and can be made with any herbs and spices you have readily available.

“Excerpted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table by Frank Stitt (Artisan Books). Copyright 2004.”

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2 thoughts on “REAL WOMEN EAT LETTUCE (+ SHERRY HONEY VINAIGRETTE)

  1. Patricia Manich

    Growing up, it was always my Italian father who made the daily salad. Because of the importance of the lemon in southern Italy, he always combined lemon with olive oil and added some form of Italian seasoning or fresh basil if it was in season. It’s still my favorite dressing. So fresh tasting, so memory provoking.

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