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What do you do with leftover salad?

9 Aug

After dinner at a friend’s home here on Roatan, as the table was being cleared, I was asked, “What do you do with leftover salad?”

I glanced in the bowl, where wilted greens clung to the sides and bottom, sharing space with an assortment of soggy tomato chunks, tidbits of sweet peppers, and slivers of garlic, swimming in a puddle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and spices that had escaped being grabbed by the salad tongs during the meal.

Now, it wasn’t a complicated question, but I did pause before answering, considering that some sort of a punch-line would follow. Or perhaps it was a trick question. Why would anyone ask that? I do the same thing with leftover salad that everyone does…I throw it in the garbage.

“Isn’t that what you do?” I asked.

“No, I flush it down the toilet.”

Another guest joined in and added, “I save it in the fridge and eat it the next day. I don’t mind soggy salad and won’t let food go to waste.”

An interesting debate ensued. Each of us defended our choice of what to do with leftover salad. Each of us referencing what our parents did with leftover salad. I was fascinated to realize that our decisions with how to proceed with even the simplest of tasks was determined more by the culture we were raised in and what we had been taught to do rather than something tweaking our senses to do it.

And defend our choices we did! There were certainly no angry words or fist fights of any sort, but we all felt compelled to stick-up for our ways. Our very identities were at risk. What belonged to each of us was being challenged.

I recently wrote a story commemorating the anniversary of the earthquake that “hit” Roatan. I put the word hit in quotations because a similar debate ensued when I used that word to describe the event. Someone who wasn’t on Roatan the day of the earthquake corrected my reference stating that from a scholastic point-of-view Roatan was not hit by an earthquake. Many of the people on the Island that earthshaking day joined in to verbally defend the description of the experience, as a hit. Through a simple grammatical correction, what we had gone through was being denied.

So what the heck does that have to do with leftover salad or life on a tropical Island in the Caribbean Sea? (I used to call it the Caribbean Ocean; that too was corrected by the same person. I grew up in Canada, we have oceans around us, not seas…it’s what I’m use to saying.)

I have come to call Roatan home. I brought my traditions, my cultural background (I’m a Heinz 57 so it would be impossible to pin down to anything specific) and my learned behaviours. Once here, I encountered ways of doing things and ways of living that are foreign to me. But what I do is foreign to them too.

Instead of rushing to defend my point-of-view, or feeling threatened by someone else’s. I think I’ll work on appreciating hearing and seeing different way of doing things, and be grateful that there are some things I might want to adopt to enhance my life, my daily existence.

Maybe, I’ll even become more…worldly.

As for the earthquake, it was an experience I hope to never repeat. But it did give those of us who were on Roatan when it hit a special connection to each other, a common thread, a bond.

So what do you do with leftover salad?

7 Responses to “What do you do with leftover salad?”

  1. Alina Popescu 10. Aug, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    Genny, you are so right about doing things they way we were raised to, or at least trying! I do put leftover salad in the fridge, because that’s what my mom used to do, I sometimes even eat it later. Most times I stil end up throwing it away :)

    I think this is the key to acceptance, to bonding with people – share each other’s insights and views on things without fear or without threatening the others. Funny how we sometimes need to be out of our comfort zone (our country, our home), where we’re supposedly safer, to be more open minded and feel less threatened by everything!

  2. Gennyca 10. Aug, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    My mom didn’t like to eat left over salad…so neither did I. There are habits we adopt later in life but I really think, mostly we stick to what we were taught. Getting out there and traveling away from your comfort zone certainly helps.

  3. Pam 10. Aug, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    I just threw out some cucumber tomato salad complete with balsamic vinegar dressing that had been in the fridge 2-3 weeks. It was not pretty. I threw it outside in some bushes (No garbage disposol here) and the dogs ended up finding it anyways! YUCK!!!Bbut they didnt seem to mind!

  4. Gennyca 10. Aug, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Dogs definitely have a different opinion of what is edible.

  5. Marina 10. Aug, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    When it’s just my husband and myself I try to make the amount we need so I don’t have to throw anything away. To much waste in the world, don’t like waste. When I have made it for a dinner party I will make an announcement when I see the plates getting empty and say,”there is still some of salad, either we eat it now or you’ll see it on your dessert plate”. I usually get someone to finish it.

  6. Gennyca 10. Aug, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    I love it! Threaten your dinner guests with soggy salad for dessert :)

  7. Trish 19. Aug, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    I save my salad until the next day when its even better.I do add crutons or Bacon bits to make it crunchy.Sometimes, I will put it on a sandwich which is really awesome.My Mama didn’t like wilted salad but she always saved it just for me.

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