We love salad. Eating greens is good for our health. I favor eating food produced locally (or at least regionally). This way, our food is relatively fresh and we also support our farmers and food producers. When I write this post in early 2014, we are currently living in Singapore. Whenever possible, I try to buy Singapore products, or regional ones, e.g. greens from Malaysia, cherry tomatoes from Thailand, long beans from Indonesia.
On another spectrum, I also believe in eating food with recipe inspired globally. In my childhood, the concept of salad is probably nearest to lalap (an Indonesian dish). Consuming lalap with fried chicken or fish, steamed rice and a pinch of sambal terasi chili is really a treat to our taste buds. Commonly used ingredients for lalap include cucumber (timun), tomato (tomat), cabbage (kol), lettuce (selada), long bean (kacang panjang), papaya leaves (daun pepaya), sweet potato leaves (daun singkong), basil (kemangi). It is the basil that gives the fragrance.
Then, when I lived in England, I grew to appreciate salad even more. My favorite greens include rocket leaves and baby spinach leaves. Crunchy and refreshing salads are fast to prepare and heart warming companion to bowls of steamed rice or roasted meals.
Salad can be colorful and offers a wide range of tastes and textures. At first, the thought of salad directly implies a cold meal, but salad can be served warm – or as a yin-yang mixture of cold and hot, featuring fresh vegetables topped with hot fish, toasted nuts, or tossed in a warm dressing before serving. I really love meals that incorporate different temperatures!
See a little spreadsheet note of mine on ingredients for salad. There are more than 100 ingredients we can choose from to mix and match! Whenever I come across inspirational recipes, I would add on to the spreadsheet. Ingredients in bold are those that I often use for our homemade salad.
For the upcoming #AtoZChallenge that I am taking part in April 2014, I am going to prepare blog posts on food (many of them are delicious ingredients for salad), to tell a little story about these wonderful food choices to baby Ren and hopefully other children will love them too! Storytelling of food can indeed increase the appeal of salad and food to children.