Once upon a time, salads of all shapes and sides gained deified status on my healthy mealtime accompaniment list. Then I discovered…
…not all salads are created equal.
Scott has always been Mr. Dependable. My super stalwart. Refusing to follow the tardy tradition of many Dphil students past, not only was his thesis bound and viva-ed early, but a steady job was lined up too. As an entree’ to the main, bread-winning course – and in keeping with our quirky and adventurous employment theme – Scott secured himself a salubrious lecturing gig at one of the colleges, whence saw him contracted for the Hilary (Spring) and Trinity (Summer) terms: the layover.
In the minds of the common man or woman, a prestigious position would generally marry with a silver service quality pay cheque. Having become familiar with Oxbridge idiosyncrasies, it should not really have come as a shock that a meager stipend with unlimited dining rights should attract such illustrious attention as a sought after employment opportunity. Sensing trepidation about a girth-full gain around the pre-fatherhood middle, Scott was quick to mollify my concerns with the promise of Salad Only luncheon meals…to precede a regular postprandial stint of cricket on the impeccably maintained college fields.
As the weeks progressed, so to did Scott’s commitment to saving the pennies and storing the pounds. Shortly before the start of his final eight weeks of gainful employment, our dear friend Stephen – from sunny Brisbane – came to stay. As was tradition with our holidaying homeland visitors, Stephen was treated to consecutive days of guest dining rights at high table. On the final eve of his stay, I returned home early from the school house. In anticipation of the imminent arrival of a fatigued and ravenous duo (and to see myself through an afternoon of marking), I had laid out a formidable spread of indulgent local cheeses to accompany a celebratory, top-notch wine. Just as I was about to take the first sip of the rather quaffable red, two rollicking figures burst through the front door in a bout of hysterics just in time for me to catch the final line of the now infamous quotation “…and she has never cottoned onto the old salad gambit…”.
And so saw the last of Scott’s unlimited dining days. Having been caught with his finger in the pie…roast meats…salmon mornay…fillet mignon…beef bourguignon…and other gout inducing delights…he was happy to realise his just desserts in the Quiet Reading Room: a home made salad garnished with the wafting and moreish aroma of adjacent kitchen fare.
To this day, Scott continues to maintain his more food conscious, father-of-two approach to the work time mess menu. Let loose in the larder, however, and his heady Oxford salad days of times past are brought to the table. Eliciting much delight, Dad’s midday meals – with an upsized serve of “yummies” – always go down a treat with an extra large dose of whooping and hollering from K1 and K2.
Dressed to impress, no family or community BBQ would be complete without a retelling of the Merton College consume-mation…and a generous serve of Scott’s Super Size Me Potato Salad.
Scott’s (rather scant) Super Size Me Potato Salad Recipe
Being well known for his laconic, recipe giving style, I managed to cajole Scott into putting pen to paper as well as provide public audiences with some photographic footage of the salad making process…
2 kg potatoes
Garden herbs (rosemary, oregano, chives, parsley, thyme etc.)
Salt and Pepper
First…send your keen and willing salad recipients into the garden to fetch some fresh-from-the-earth spuds.
Wash then cut the potatoes into “half-egg” sized chunks.
In a large saucepan, boil for 10-15 minutes or until a knife goes through them easily. Remove from the boil, cool slightly in the water then drain and leave to cool and dry on wire rack. Place in a large ceramic bowl and store in the fridge overnight or until cold.
Chop finely the bacon, onion and garlic. Fry the “yummies” on low heat till yellow. Mix some yoghurt and mayonnaise together in the ratio of 3:1 (Yoghurt:Mayo).
Prepare the dressing by mixing some Parmesan (or vintage cheddar), the finely fried bacon mix and the yoghurt mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Mix with the potatoes.
Top the salad with some excess “yummies” and finely sliced spring onions. Cover and chill for atleast one hour. Dish out to your high-table-quality dining guests. WINNING!