With four of us planning to attend the church potluck lunch, I knew we couldn’t come empty handed, but with my wife on crutches, I couldn’t really ask her to help, and my two twenty-something sons who have far more culinary skills than I could ever dream of just didn’t see anything wrong with showing up with nothing. With my wife injured and off work, someone in the church family was bound to make us a casserole, and by not bringing anything we could just call it even. But I wasn’t buying into that logic.
So it was time for me to make a salad, because I figured this was something I could basically not screw up. Also, it had to involve chopped up bread and butter pickles, because once I come up with an idea, I get really obsessed. Also, we had a surplus of these at the time and despite the fact they were, by definition, pickled, I thought they were starting to go rancid.
Paul’s Pickle Salad
Bread and Butter Pickles
Lemon Juice and Vegetable Oil
- Emerge from shower only to find out that wife on crutches has already chopped the Romaine Lettuce for you.
- Vacillate between shredding the radishes or chopping them, and opt for a mixture of both techniques as a nod to fusion cooking.
- Shred some celery. Most people would chop, but I am not as other salad makers. Watch fingers as stalks get smaller or keep bandages close by.
- Chop pickled turnip. The reason we have this is that we do some Middle Eastern cooking and it’s an ingredient in shawarma. We also make our own Tebouleh. (Google it.) And Falafel wraps. Not bad for white people, huh?
- Search refrigerator for some chopped onions. There are just about always leftovers of these in our fridge — probably not more than a week old — and the people at my church certainly deserve the best.
- Chop up some bread and butter pickles. This is the heart of the whole recipe. I wondered about actually revealing this today, but I feel I can trust you. If I had been born a girl, I might have come up with this idea for a Home Economics class in Grade 7, but as a guy, the process of getting to this point took several decades little longer. Do they still teach Home Economics? (Note: Do not leave a comment that chopped up bread and butter pickles basically constitutes relish. You obviously don’t possess the esprit de salad needed for a project like this.)
- Pause to be thankful the church is providing hamburgers and hot dogs, as people could starve if they were depending on people like me to cook for them.
- Stir in ingredients and bake at 375° for one hour. But not the baking part. Don’t do that.
- Ask Mrs. W. for an appropriate dressing idea, since I have not thought that far ahead. Collaboratively, we come up with the oil and lemon juice idea. Realizing I haven’t shaved and we need to leave for church in five minutes, she mixes these in proportion. (Yes, you ask, in proportion to what? Do you see any other quantities in this recipe?)
- Consider crunching some saltine crackers on top for that faux crouton vibe, but think better of it. Also time was running out.
…And then, came the moment two hours later when my salad appeared on the table along with the handiwork of all the other ladies, and I slowly poured my dressing on top and joined the ranks of generations of potluck providers. I know pride is a sin, but inside I was glowing.
While this recipe may not impress some (or all) of you, I want you to know that for me, once described as culinarily impotent by a former roommate, it was a personal triumph.
…I’m combining this blog post with the one from earlier in the week on candle-making when I start my mommy blog.
We have not heard of any serious illnesses since the potluck, so I have to assume it was a success.
Nobody brought us a casserole.
We’re having another potluck next week, the instructions read “A-M bring desert, N-Z (but not W) bring a salad. W bring napkins.”