“Could you make me a salad?” Christina asked absentmindedly, her eyes fixated on the monitor in front of her. It was 9:30pm, and we sat at our desks across from each other, back to back, lost in the noiseless clamor of loading screens as we clicked from one page to the next. The light coming through our office windows had long since faded, but neither one of us had gotten up to turn on the overhead lights. Instead we sat, the blue glow of our screens flickering over our skin, brightening and fading indecisively, the way a candle might toy with the features of a scribe.
I swiveled my chair and looked over at Christina. “Really?” I asked, in a mixture of excitement and confusion. I always feel a little tinge of giddiness when Christina asks me to cook for her, mainly because I love cooking for her and it doesn’t happen all that often that she asks. It’s not that she doesn’t like my cooking, it’s just that she has never really been big into food. After the initial wave of excitement, confusion slid in like a wake-boarder. ‘Wait a minute.’ I thought ‘Aren’t we supposed to be tired of salads?’
For the past 80 days we have had a new salad every day. Every day vegetables get pulled from our refrigerator, sculpted into funny shapes, arranged into a salad, lathered with dressing, photographed, and then set back into the refrigerator. There the plate sits, caged in plastic like a poodle waiting to be judged. Even after the judging, on any given day, one or two picked through plates of salad can usually be found squeezed into our refrigerator. They remind me of fallen beauty queens, their tangled leaves flattened by the weight of some cheese or dressing, their body robbed of precious jewels of avocado or chicken. Recently I have made it my personal mission to eat the forgotten remnants of these salads, eating sometimes two or three bowls of diced peppers and shriveled up carrots.
It has been months since Christina has asked me to make her a salad, and the words seemed out of place. “Really, do you want a salad?” I asked, opting not to take the tack of resentfully inquiring what is the matter with all of the uneaten salads sitting in the refrigerator presently. “Uh. No… not really. I don’t know why I said that.” She replied, and I realized that we have gotten to the stage where 90 salads are no longer a big production, but are now simply a part of the routine. Since our salad days are almost over, I decided to make this salad which is an abstract rendition of one of Christina’s favorites.
Abstract Artist’s Salad
1/4 head romaine lettuce
1-2 cups purple cabbage, chopped or shredded
4 small sliced carrots
1/2 avocado cut into squares
3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp raw honey
1/4 tsp tamari soy sauce
Christina’s vote: “This salad was fun”