One of my biggest revelations since creating our unique capsule meal plan is to embrace the food we love to cook and eat, and not to feel guilty about the things that don’t work for us. It has only been in the past six months that I have been able to truly accept my preferences and their uniqueness. Part of this process of self discovery led me to realize that even though I enjoy fresh vegetables, salads don’t work on our weekly menu. In fact, I am much happier to never make salads. This was interesting to me because I love eating salads. I enjoy crisp lettuce mixed with chopped bits of vegetables and fruit, smothering it all in a tangy, or sweet, or creamy dressing.
However, in my kitchen, the salad cycle goes something like this: buy lettuce or salad greens, separate and wash leaves, chop the greens, slice the fruit/veg accessories, chop up more things for the dressing, and whisk up dressing. Just writing all the steps makes me want to stay away from lettuce! Salads are also one of the few dishes that I despise the leftovers. The thought of wilty lettuce -gag. So I spend all this time preparing this masterful salad with creamy avocado, sunflower seeds adding a little crunch factor, but then I have to make something different for dinner? I am not at a point in my life when I want to spend all the night in the kitchen preparing food.
I know this is not a big deal to a lot of people, maybe even most people, which is why there are so many awesome salad recipes. I used to force myself to make salads because they were healthy, and beautiful, and everyone else was making them. But for me, more often than not, my salad plans would get pushed back in the week because I didn’t feel like dealing with the whole ordeal. Then on Friday I would have some sad, close-to-wilting lettuce and a mish-mash of other vegetables leftover from the week. Of course I did not waste the vegetables, but the outcome was so far from my inspiration that it didn’t seem worth the time and effort.
It might sound petty or silly, but I am much happier without the vegetables in the crisper beginning their countdown to uncrispiness. I don’t have that anxious feeling opening the fridge and have my thoughts spiraling from, “oh gosh, I should really make that salad. The lettuce is going to go bad, the tomatoes are getting squishy. I hate squishy tomatoes. If they get squishy I know I am not going to eat them, does it make me a bad person if I give John all the squishy ones? Probably. We will just have to throw them away – again. You are the reason there is so much food waste. Way to cause world hunger.” Dramatic, yes, but also what went on in my sometimes dramatic mind.
I never got the enthusiastic, light, oh yum feeling eating my salads that I did just looking at other peoples salads. It took me a surprisingly long time to realize the incongruence between my feelings looking at other people’s salads, and making my own salads. Once I identified it, I decided to accept my preferences. I still eat loads of vegetables, just not on a bed of greens. When I do make salads, it is conscious decision to set aside some time for washing, chopping, and whisking; no guilt spiral needed.