The Tempest Salad

It started with an email entitled “your blog?” . I opened it and read the string of words that followed.
“Emily, I came across the following links below. Did you get ripped off?”
Attached was a link to an article that was published in the Huffington post entitled “90 salads in 90 days: how a committed carnivore brainwashed herself into liking leafy greens” and another link to a blog that the author publishes about ethics. Huh.
Thoughts and emotions flapped back and forth like wind flapping a sail. It went something like this:
I felt a puff of anger, followed by the thought ‘it is just a coincidence’.
I had an overwhelming sense of loss, followed by ‘she just had a similar idea, but the execution is different’.
I was back to anger, then ‘if she did see my website and use the idea, why not be flattered?’
Another wave of anger, then ‘the whole idea of proprietary information is stupid anyway. We are all influenced by each other, nothing is original’
I read her article again. I even got some salad groupies and a few copycats inspired by my “movement.” a puff of rage filled my sail driving my fingers into a type happy rhythm. I have written and deleted many words since reading that article. I have chased down evidence, built cases and then knocked them down. My salad war spread through friends and family. Third party resentments are exploding like grenades, leaving the scattered debris of letters to the editor of the Huffington post.
After the rage storm, I began thinking about my original intent in beginning 90 salads. A quote came to mind:

“Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door. Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there.” –Rumi

Effort. Consistency. Dedication. Loyalty to that dedication. Persistence. Joy. An open heart. Self Discovery. Unity.
The original quote was not written in English, so these words are really not Rumi’s words. They are the interpretation of a translator, who has touched the hearts and minds of many people and without credit. He himself probably doesn’t realize that he is the original source of these words.

The salad:
Rinse and strain 1 bunch of arugula. Add 1/2 pkg halved cherry tomatoes 3 mini cucumbers and 1 diced avocado. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the top and 2-3 tbsp olive oil. Add a little diced red onion if you like. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper.

Christina’s vote: “Calmed my otherwise raging soul”

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King of the Hill Salad

“This is our playground” said the new girl, and she shook her fist in an uncoordinated air pound at me while still clinging to the chain of the high swinging bridge. I craned my neck to look up at her. She was pretty, and she had deep brown eyes and was wearing pink shorts. She wore interesting brown leather shoes on her feet.

Her hair swung at her chin, just like my best friend Patience, who was currently peeking down at me from over the new girl’s shoulder. I felt robbed. I felt betrayed. I was still so naive. I didn’t care about the playground, or whom it belonged to; I just wanted my friend Patience back. I was four years old, and this was my first introduction to the adult life of an American woman. Politics, social climbing, drama, commodities, ownership, sides, a culture governed by pyramids, and right now the new girl balanced threateningly at the top.

I looked up at Patience, now a commodity, and felt betrayed. She had been brainwashed I was sure of it. Being that I was only four years old and did not yet understand the rules of this game, I did what any normal child would do.
I cried.
My skin burned under my flower print shirt, cooking the water that soon filled up my eyes. Heavy tears dripped from my eyelashes, wetting my cheeks and leaving cool streams for the wind to dry. My cries boiled into bawls. The teacher came rushing over to extinguish my sobs. The new girl taunted me from her perch, calling me a crybaby.
“Hadley” said the teacher to the taunting new girl “you get down from there and come over here right now”
Hadley let her head go limp and swing from her neck as she shuffled from her bridge to the ground and then over to where we stood. Her outline was fuzzy through my swollen tear encrusted eyes. I felt suddenly ashamed of my tears and allowed my head to hang to hide them. We stood facing each other, both of our heads bowed. The teacher took each of out hands and connected them in an embrace.
“Hadley, say you are sorry”.
imm sorry” she said.
“Now, shake hands and be friends”. The shaking of our hands startled me out of my post cry coma and suddenly I noticed them, up close, her shoes. They were covered in beads. They were dirty and worn and the beads were falling off, but they amazed and intrigued me.
“I like your shoes” I said. Her face lit up
“Really? You want to be friends?”
Here is where I learned the powerful art of manipulation. Flattery will get you everywhere. I nodded my head yes. We ran off to the playground and joined the ranks of the bullies in the sky.

I would like to say that I have grown up, and learned different ways to play on the playground. Walking away from the drama, and finding a nice patch of sand in the sandbox to meditate on, or choosing to swing on the swing set instead with some of the quieter kids…
However, I still want to play king of the hill.

The salad: Slice 6 baby cucumbers and garnish them with the sweetest leeks (3) and carrots (6 small slender) you can find. Add 2 fresh tomatoes sliced. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Easy and delicious (no joke, this salad is really tasty and simple.)

Christina’s vote: “This salad made me want to bite the hand that feeds me”

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The Sweetness in the Bitter

The Future:
She sat with me, glasses teetering on the edge of her nose. Her hair was silver and her arms hung loose out of her T-shirt. She used foul language, but only when tastefully appropriate, and her laughter rang with the freedom of someone who had invested serious time into developing a relationship with herself. She was not trying to get something from me, not even a patient audience. She did not seem to expect anything from me, I felt no pressure to take a stage. Unsure of what their was to learn, I felt quite sure that she was a person that I could learn from. I hope to be like her one day.

The Past:
She sat across from me, with orange glowing skin and bright white teeth, like a character peeking out from the little square on the back of a juicing manual. The faint smell of tanning lotion permeated the air, it reminded me of maple syrup. She smiled at everything I said, because someone told her that is what nice girls do. Inside, she felt restless. She wanted to die, she said, with a nervous smile and a downward glance.

In a moment of foolishness I climbed up onto my platform and began talking as though I had answers to give. I spoke about the impermanence of beauty and youth and about connecting with oneself on a deeper level, as if there were some way to talk her into hope.

We talked at each other like two kids throwing bean bags at each other. Take that hopelessness! Take that super optimism! Each time we spoke we teetered further from our purpose and closer to the edges of right and wrong.
“One day your youth will slip away, we all grow old and ugly you know, if you learn to base your self esteem beyond your vanity now you will be ready for that day when it comes” I said, feeling exceptionally clever.
“but you didn’t get ugly” she said
SPLASH. Her bean bag pelted the target and I felt the platform drop from underneath me. “d-d-did you just call me old?” her face got a little red and she smiled nervously.

I had to leave the coffee shop with the consolation prize of my own advice.
It wasn’t the first time.

The Present:
I stopped in the juice bar for 12 oz of carrot juice and sucked it down like it would deliver all that it has promised on infomercials. Then I went home to get ready for my meeting with the Charlies Angles. They are not really the Charlies Angels of course, but three female TV producers who are filming the episode of a TV show in which I will be appearing. I call them the Charlies Angels because they have a male producer who is behind the scenes and seemingly calls all the shots, he is kept well hidden from the set due to the fact that the entire premise of the show is to inspire middle school aged girls to become leaders. The episode will be about cooking. During the meeting we experimented with different foods, we were trying different methods of sweetening fruits when we discovered the amazing sweetening and softening effect vinegar has on peaches.

The salad:
Shred ~2-3 cups carrots (I used a food processor). Add 1 1/2-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, a drizzle of vegetable oil and a drizzle of maple syrup. Add some diced snap peas, snow peas and some dried cranberries. Enjoy!

Christina’s vote: “Sweet tangy and lovely”

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Keep On Going Potato Salad

Wind blew in gusts, tangling the tendrils which fell from my ponytail into impossible salty knots that remind me of living on the ocean. The hill ahead was both long and familiar, I have run it many times before. I felt defeated. Tired. Impatient.
I have allowed my mind to scatter from the task at hand to all the tasks which need to be accomplished all at once. I am standing in front of a full stove jumping from pot to pot, stirring briefly each dish, and tasting none of them. The meal risks an unseasoned presentation, the flavors of which I will have ignorance.
I imaging a little kitchen egg timer counting down notches, representing, not minutes, but days until the next semester begins (by which time I need to have my thesis defended). The timer is splattered like spaghetti sauce with my exasperation. I look at the hill ahead, I remember the first time I ran it…

Twin cities marathon, October 2005. It was my first marathon. I began running in the winter of 2004. I had just moved to Minnesota, and was ill prepared for the notoriously cold winters. Nevertheless, I was determined to become a runner, and to run a marathon. The dramatic effect of needing to wrap multiple scarves around my head to brave below zero temperatures was air blown into my crackling spark of ambition.
The following spring I learned the importance of proper clothing. After my first long distance run my feet were covered in blisters and I had to remove my shoes at mile 13 and walk the final 2 miles home. I recall that the very next day I wrapped my feet and went out again.

On race day, it was apparent that my training could not have prepared me for this hill (more importantly, this hill at mile 21 where it came in the race). I was too new of a runner to be able to tackle it. My body was forced to hobble up the steep and shady asphalt.

Perseverance. It has nothing to do with success, it is unattached to outcomes
Just. Keep. Showing. Up.

I repeated the marathon in 2008, a more seasoned runner. I was able to cut over an hour off of my finishing time from the first race. This hill, however, was the beginning of my slowed pace and the start to an entirely different sort of challenge to get to the finish line.

Today’s workout is designed specifically to get me ready for October 2009. It was five repetitions of this hill, in a 1-3/4 mile loop, 12 miles total. I was to speed up at the face of the hill. I ran extra mileage because I felt like quitting early.

Perseverance. It doesn’t mean I am going to feel great everyday. It doesn’t mean I am going to see improvements. It doesn’t mean the purpose of what I am doing will be clear to me or that I will understand it.

I came home with a ravenous hunger. Nothing sounds more delicious right now than potato salad made with sour cream, broccoli and green onion. It reminds me of having potato skins at a restaurant, or of when my mom would make us baked potatoes and she would set out a bunch of toppings.

The salad:
Put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Dice some fresh potatoes and add them to the heating water (about 2 cups). Cook the potatoes to desired texture and drain them (rinse with cold water). Now add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the empty pot. Add 1 small diced yellow onion and 1 clove minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Add some broccoli (1/2 large head) to the pan and stir until the broccoli turns green, then pour it into your salad bowl. Add another Tbsp olive oil, salt, minced clove of garlic and baby yellow onion diced to the empty pot and when the onion has cooked a little, add the potatoes back in. Toss them around a bit until they are flavored and add them to the broccoli. Dice 1 leek or 3 green onions or some chives. Add them to the veggies. Allow the veggies to cool. Add 1 1/2-2 cups sour cream. Season with lemon pepper, salt and paprika.

Christina’s vote: “A pleasant change from the usual potato salad”

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Clown Complex Salad

I tilted my head to the side, trying to decide whether to react. It was an awkward moment, standing in the bright sunlight under the impeccable blue sky. The suburban street was manicured with perfect little houses, and the cars drove slowly on the errands of those that live free of cubicles.
White headphones draped like suspenders around my shoulders, my nose and elbows dripped with sweat and I was starting to get cool from standing for so long on the side of the street in the middle of my run. An old friend stood across from me and we were having one of those odd conversations that leaves you feeling like a stumped clown unsure of whether to entertain a child who has just stomped on your foot. Did he mean to do that? Should I continue juggling, or let the tears run my makeup away. Should I get angry? The thousands of possible scenarios born in the seed of each moment pulled the corners of my mouth into an indiscriminate botox smile.
I imagine the grotesque expressions I displayed as I struggled inwardly with which face to put on. I needed to walk away for a bit. I needed to let it hover, to let it roast for awhile while I focus on other things. When I pick it up again I will taste it and see if it suits my palate to add sweetness or vinegar or to let it alone. I peeled the 4 medium beets over the kitchen sink to avoid creating a huge mess on my counter, even though the messiness of beets is sort of an illusion that can be wiped away by towel. I cut them into chunks, maybe I imagined some malicious intent. Or perhaps the intent was there, but not directed at me. Since I will have the oven hot for roasting beets, I might as well toss garlic in too to make the house smell lovely, 2 cloves. I put in 1/2 head cauliflower, because I remember how my friend Scott described the roasted cauliflower that he had ordered at a restaurant recently. It was “like angels weeping on his tongue” he said.

I sprinkle it all with salt, to bring out the flavors already locked inside the vegetables. I bathe the vegetables in 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbsp olive oil. After the pan is loosely covered in a 400 degree oven, and the timer set to 50 min, I can let it go. My shoulders melt back to normal. Is it all such a big deal? I move on to other things, as the salad tenderizes in the oven.

By the time the timer goes off, everything has changed. Beets and balsamic are sweet, not tangy. The cauliflower is buttery and rich, the garlic is mild and perfumes the air. When all is cool, I mix it together with 1/2 bunch fresh diced Swiss chard and 1/3 Tbsp Ume plum vinegar.

Christina’s vote: “This salad is nectar for the Gods”

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Swinging Tomato Netted with Herbs Salad

I threw the giant canvas bag over my shoulder, slipped on my white sandals and headed down to the farmers market. I passed children tethered by the wrists to smiling young parents wearing their most casual Sunday morning “natural” look. I passed the roasted corn stands and the doughnut vendors, and the high school musicians blowing popular classical favorites through the brass flavored instruments. I had to shield my eyes from the bagel stand, where warm bagel sandwiches and hot coffee beverages were being served to aid the still groggy sun in warming us all up. Browsing eyes lifted the necks of shoppers, which had an effect of slowing their feet and moving them in zig zag patterns, like tomatoes swaying on their vines. I walked carefully, but swiftly between them, as though I might bruise or cause them to fall if I got too close. I didn’t have the luxury of being a tomato today, waltzing and tasting my way around the tables, I had an empty refrigerator and 15 more days left of salad to make.
Herbs lay flat on the tables, releasing aromatic nets, trapping shoppers and bringing their heads in close. Novelty carries a heavier price tag and gathers a larger crowd, the people walk by the familiar preachings of last weeks favorites, and gather around the soap box of the blueberry and the sweet corn, leaving cabbage, zucchini and squash sitting over-sized, abundant and on sale. I find a tall stalk of Swiss chard, It feathers out of my bag revealing the weight of my shopping endeavor and parting the sea of Sunday shoppers as I trudge back up the hill to the awaiting cats in our apartment home. I think of my nieces and nephews today, and of the carefree childhood joys and the newness of flavors. It is the same feeling that adults relive as they taste their first fresh garden tomato of the year at the farmers market.

The salad:
In a salad bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 3/4 Tbsp white wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, a clove of garlic minced and a pinch of thyme. Add 1/2 head of fresh, dark, leafy Swiss chard. Add 3 medium fresh garden tomatoes cut into geometric shapes along the flesh of the tomato so that they hold together. Add some diced fresh basil (as much as you like). Season with fresh cracked pepper.

Christina’s vote: “This salad made me want to yodel”

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Costumes and Mirrors Salad

“She doesn’t think I should take up fencing.” Christina said, trying to make an ally out of the barista, who was a well chosen prospect considering he had just spent the last ten minutes telling us about how he was taking up archery and whittling his own equipment.
“and why not..” he said.
“I…uh..I dunno, I guess I think it’s silly…it reminds me of children playing with sticks in the backyard” I realized after I had said it that it made me sound like a curmedgeon
“AND WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT?” the barista said. The encounter was shaping out to be just like the time Christina told a different barista that I didn’t approve of her wearing a turban and I got shaming lecture with my Americano, the sort of lecture normally reserved for oppressive husbands. Christina, on the other hand, got a “you go girl, you rock that turban, don’t let HER tell you what to wear” oh snap.
What she didn’t know is that Christina has also talked about adorning herself with a cane, and an eye patch, a sign that says ‘no talk tuesday’, an orange and blue striped zoot suit, and cowboy boots with spandex.
By now our barista has come around the counter and positioned Christina’s arm up behind her, and adjusted the toe of her boot in an en guard stance.
“Oh great” I said, “are you going to bite your thumb at me too now?”
Christina just stared back at me. I had let my inner geek slip out. I had tucked my hair behind my ear to reveal how it pointed at the top. The barista got excited, if their is one thing that the fencing type likes more than a Renaissance festival, it is reciting quotation wars and the Simpson’s are particular favorites, but of course Shakespeare will always have a place of honor.
“I do not bite my thumb at you sir, but I do bite my thumb sir..” he said, a giant smile on his face. Then he asked me if I would approve of Christina playing with light sabers instead of fencing.
We left the building and hovered at the benches while we finished our drinks, still talking about the barista
“He belongs to a subculture” I said “certain traits run through subcultures like it, for example, the propensity toward video game playing, and preferences for mountain dew, and an attraction to wearing costumes..”
Just then, no joke, two teenage boys walked by. One of them was walking with a staff, the other wore tight black clothing and had spiked up his hair to look like a Japanese animation character. It was as if we were on a movie set and the director cued them to cross our path at those exact words. Strange.
We continued our walk.
“You seem to think you know an awful lot about this” Christina said
“of course I do” I said “I’ve been them before..I’ve been everything” I said.
Christina erupted with laughter.
“Everything??” she said. I gave her my best threatening look, the one that says ‘shatter my illusion and I will make you regret it’. Then I hoped that she would heed her fathers words, who said
“You can’t go around shattering people’s illusions, people need them”
Christina has a way of throwing rocks through false mirrors. They create ripples of light when they fly through, revealing images from the mirror underneath, twisted and distorted and without clear edges. My way with the illusion is to polish it, because in my youthful arrogance I still believe that I can make it turn real.
“I hardly think that at 30 years old you have already been everything” And it hit me. The humor of my words was magnified by the picture of me saying them. Not only is my head slightly large for my frame, my physique is somewhat childlike from running and my skin is marked like an adolescent.
“Somebody has gotten a little big for her britches” Christina said, and she hiked her pants up high. I shook with laughter, and turned a little red from embarrassment.
We kept on walking.

The salad:
Marinate 1 chicken breast in 6 oz of mountain dew, 2 tsp soy sauce and 1 clove minced garlic. If you are the sort of cook that tries to avoid things like artificial processed foods, use orange juice instead (you need sugar, liquid, and and acid, and mountain dew fits in with the story; but orange juice is just as good).
Boil 1 pan of water and add 1/2 head broccoli and watch as the color of the trees turns bright green. You are the rain, unlocking the colors that have been trapped in her leaves hidden from the world while she travelled through boxes and crispers to get to you now. After just a few min in the hot water, pour the broccoli into your strainer. If cooking were a sport the strainer would be the benches. The waiting area. Let the broccoli rest there while you mince 2 cloves of garlic, and heat 2 Tbsp of toasted sesame oil. They add broccoli, and garlic to the hot oil, toss it around for a few min and remove from the heat.
Cook your chicken in a hot pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add chicken and marinade into the pan all at once so the oil doesn’t spatter. When the liquid is gone, the chicken will caramelize from the sugar in the soda on the outside. This is good, but don’t let it burn. Remove the cooked chicken and slice into pieces.
In your salad bowl add 1/4 head purple cabbage diced. Add 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp mountain dew, 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp rice vinegar. Toss together, add in chicken and broccoli. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. In a dry pan, toast sesame seeds, moving constantly (they like to burn) until they are fragrant.

Christina’s vote: “This salad had me speaking in tongues”

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Click Click Crunch Salad

click click click crunch crunch click click, crunch click click…

We sit back to back, facing opposing walls, a little multicolored plate of fresh raw vegetables resting on the corner of our matching black desks. My monitor reflects stick drawings of chemicals, which trick me into believing I can understand chemistry in two dimensions. I imagine molecules fitting together, held there by an invisible attraction which is both connected and separate, strong and strained. Christina watches her screen as pieces of computer hardware float back and forth hooking into place by giant fingers of unknown origin. Crunch crunch, we are both leaned forward, searching, seeking, wanting to understand. We drift into our imaginary worlds where everything works like a puzzle, every problem has a solution.

From the picture of anthocyanins on my screen, I look to the purple cabbage on my plate. In between the water and the sugars of this vegetable there are tiny little molecules of anthocyanins, hooked together in a larger network of molecules. Like a giant crochet net they sit and wait for me to chew them down and digest them with acid, and break them apart into thousands of individual geometric shapes which fit like keys into my body, locking and unlocking my genetic potential.. no, wait, they are not really shapes, they are forces of energy, pictured as shapes. At the very core, there is…
space. the material that this cabbage is made of is
I sit back in my chair, and try to jump back into the world I have made myself believe in which is two dimensional and can be easily understood on paper.
crunch crunch crunch

Blue green dressing:
Blend together 1 cup sour cream, 4 oz blue cheese, 1 cup parsley, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 very small baby red onion (1 Tbsp diced red onion total) 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp mustard and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add some pepper and paprika and other seasonings if you like!

The salad:
Dice 1/4 red cabbage. Add 2 peeled diced carrots, some cucumber (if you have it) 1/4 head broccoli in little bite sized pieces, 1/4 head cauliflower.. my mother has the best way of breaking a head of cauliflower. She lifts it above her head and slams it down on the counter, breaking the pieces away from the core. It is amazing how well this works (it is really fun, too).

Christina’s vote: “This salad made me feel pure”

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Flavors of Life Salad

Start by creating a cucumber ocean. The cucumbers you will be using are little but they are strong, they hold massive amounts of water and are not melted to softness by it. I used 12 baby cucumbers.

Add 1 head of fennel, diced. Be prepared for the possibility of having a long conversation with the cashier about fennel, sometimes they like to ask. Here is your reply:
“fennel is a bulb with a mild anise flavor and a texture somewhat similar to a less crisp version of celery. The bulb can be eaten raw in salads, used as a seasoning for cooking fish, or is delicious braised with a little balsamic vinegar. In 16th century Italy it was revered for its medicinal qualities, where it was often served to the Pope who suffered from gastrointestinal issues, which often accompany old age.” Then whisper “to help with his constipation..”

This is the point at which they begin frantically flipping through their list of produce numbers searching for fennel. They want to get rid of you. Calm their anxieties. Let them know you are here to help them. Say “ might be listed under anise”

Add 2 cups chopped parsley remember the nights we used to play outside until it got dark, long past the point of needing to refuel. We were kept full by our unfaltering attention to each other and whatever game we happened to play. We would walk in the house tracking giant clots of bright green grass and dried mud, cursing the end of daylight.

Toss in some sweet peas and think of your little ones, and how they like to dive to the bottom of the pool to show you how strongly they swim. Their eyes are searching when they surface; they are trying to find you. See how their faces lift into a smile when their eyes have found the source of their affection. It propels them out of the water to smile so big. Watch as the peas bounce all around the counter top, rolling unpredictably in the freedom of their infancy.

Mix it together, watch as the parsley floats on water crisp cucumber inhaling new breath, chilling on the freshness of the dive.
Feed it some salt, just a little to replace what you lost while you were sliding around in the green grass outside.
Feed it some vinegar, 1 ½ Tbsp, to match the bitterness of the cashier at your encounter, choose white wine vinegar to offer your peace.
Feed it some sunflower oil, 3 Tbsp, and some lemon juice 1 Tbsp, to help deliver vitamins and energy to your little ones to help them grow.

Now let it all marinate until your loved ones come home to enjoy the flavors of life with you.

Christina’s vote: “Much like a sunrise”

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The Sequestering of a Radical Salad

“Begin with defining oxidative stress. The writing should be clear, concise and to the point. In essence it is the opposite of the sort of creative writing that you do. This will be challenging for you. You need partition your thinking, try to put a wall between the creative and the scientific…”
I felt myself getting smaller and smaller in my chair, the stack of papers scribbled with red ink getting larger on my lap. My professor spoke from a behind a castle of books surrounded by a moat of papers. My desk at home was more like a barricade of sandbags, subject to the occasional assault from grenade outbursts.
As he continued on, I began to imagine the wall. A stone-wall, thick and indestructible. I am trapped by it, shadowing myself on either side. I look around the room to see that I am walled in. I scream but my voice just echoes. On the far wall there is a long white cot. I sit on the edge, and begin to imagine…

Chapter 1: Oxidative Stress
Hydroxyl radical was a child of Superoxide Radical and Hydrogen Peroxide, who had a one-night affair in a metal bar for transients. The bar was called the Iron bar, news of the pregnancy destroyed them. Hydroxyl Radical was left on her own. She was a restless child, full of insecurities. She was the sort of girl who would latch on to any man who made eyes at her. She met a nice man by the name of carbon at a young age, not far from her place of birth. He was a fat man; everyone on Polyunsaturated Fat street was. He lived between two double bonds. He was happy to be in the company of such a lively young creature. He tolerated her abuse. The day that she left him, he was a changed man. She had stolen one of his electrons. She left him with all of her issues, her insecurities, and her restlessness. After that, the first woman he met, he moved in with him. She was twice the oxygen that hydroxyl was. She was also a thief, and she nurtured Carbons wounded spirit to support her in her life of thievery. Together, the two of them took an alias, peroxyl radical. They went looking in other neighborhoods for electrons to steal. Then one day, Oxygen told Carbon she had met the most curious woman. She was a foreigner from the land of plant matter, who had flown in on a sunflower seed. She was a Vitamin named Tocopherol, E for short. She had given one of her electrons to Oxygen, saying that she could just get another one anytime she needed it from her friend vitamin C. Oxygen and Carbon were so touched by the spirit of giving shown by Vitamin E, that they decided to give up their life of thievery.

The professor still was speaking “…they don’t hand out degree’s for near misses you know. As you go on from here to continue your writing, forget not the famous words of Mark Twain, who once began a letter by saying ‘I had not the time to write you a short letter, so I am writing you a long one.'”

The dressing:
shake together
4 Tbsp sunflower oil
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1 tsp maple syrup
tiny squeeze of lemon if you have one around

The salad:
Dice 1/2 medium red cabbage. Add 4 carrots, shredded (use a food processor if you have one). Add 1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds.

Christina’s vote: “I’m gonna eat the whole thing-don’t judge”

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