Thursday, March 16, 2017
Stackology: The perfect stack at the salad bar
I'm a reasonable woman. I understand that with a $9 lunch special that includes a personal pizza, a drink, and a trip to the salad bar, that they are not going to hand you a tureen the size of Idaho and invite you to haul away fifty pounds of lettuce and croutons. And yet...to hand me one of those wooden bowls from 1959 and tell me that I get one trip, and one trip only, to the salad bar...well, it's nothing short of throwing the gauntlet down. Because I am a master engineer of the salad stack. Or rather, I hung around the pizza parlor enough times that one day I noticed an enterprising young man who literally doubled the size of his salad bowl, using one innocent-looking secret weapon...the cucumber slice. He filled his bowl to the rim with lettuce and whatnots, then he tucked cucumber slices between the lettuce and the side of the bowl, thus extending the wall of the bowl by another inch. Stackology, we'll call it. This method worked well for me, and on more than one occasion I noted pizza parlor staff bugging their eyes out as I walked by with a tower of salad in a iddy-biddy bowl. All's fair in love and pizza war, I say. Until, of course, someone in the back got wise. And now they cut their cucumbers into half moons. However, the basic principle is still sound. If there are large radish or carrot slices in the salad bar, you can use them just as well.
What other salad bar tips do I have? I think it's an amateur's mistake to begin with lettuce, add toppings, and them drizzle on a little dressing. That's for people who are trying to lose weight or something. I begin with a ladle of salad dressing (thousand island, of course), then add a modest sprinkling of toppings (celery and boiled egg perhaps)...and then I add the lettuce. On top of the green stuff, I then pile on the beets, onions, and croutons with a mad vengeance and drape the entire thing in more dressing. This avoids running out of flavor as you work your way to the bottom of the bowl. Trust me, put some dressing on the bottom!