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On Life As A Picky Foodie

June 17th, 2011: Sensitive Questions and a Potato Salad

Posted by: Gabriela Garay

I had a post written and ready to put up.  Completed, done, signed, sealed, deli--- then I had a conversation with a woman about life insurance.  Because when you’re an adult, you need to talk about things like that.  Eesh.

So we talked about death, this woman and I, and how much DW would get, how much I would get in the event of.  Somehow every amount of money sounds ridiculous.  “We’re sorry for your loss, but here’s the cash we agreed to pay you.”

Now I know, rationally, as an adult, that this is a necessary step to take, but the rest of me was screaming about how wrong all of this was.

Still, I sat through the thirty-eight minutes of questions – do you have a terrible illness?  Have you had a terrible illness?  Have your parents had a terrible illness?  Do you envisage getting a terrible illness?  Is there any reason to suspect you will have a terrible illness at some point? 

Some questions made me laugh: do you regularly go potholing or bungee jumping? 

Other questions were downright terrifying: about alcoholism and drug abuse, about family histories and previous health problems.  I wondered how people who do suffer such afflictions feel having to divulge God knows what to the stranger reading the questionnaire on auto-pilot.

What does this have to do with food, health and general Picky Foodie themes, you ask? 

Well after this young lady had finished making sure my kidneys, liver, lungs and heart have no history of crapping out on me, after she had made sure that I don’t have any STDs, that I’m not HIV positive and that I don’t suffer from psychosis, neurosis or other psychiatric problems, she said “I’m very sorry but I’m going to have to ask you a sensitive question…” she hesitated.  Then she got the courage to continue: “What is your dress size?”

Uh, what? 

I couldn’t resist: “THAT is your sensitive question?”

I’ll let you come to your own conclusions on just how ridiculous that conversation was.  But in honour of my waistline and yours, I would like to share a lovely New Potato salad recipe.  It keeps well, travels well and fills you up regardless of your dress size.

Let me say this: I’m not a fan of the popular potato (I know, I don’t drink nor do I like potatoes.  And yet, I live in England.).  Last week, at the farmer’s market, however, DW mentioned how much he would enjoy some from time to time.  As fate would have it, a great looking spud salad was featured on one of my favourite mainstream recipe sites – Food52.  This is the second time I make this dish in as many weeks, and the second time it disappears remarkably quickly.    

New Potato Salad
(adapted from Food52)

The key to this recipe is to make it while the potatoes are still warm so they can soak up the lovely vinaigrette.  Prep time is around a half hour from start to finish.  It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days and is hearty enough for grey summer days yet refreshing enough for sunny picnics. 

-  1 kg new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large bite-sized pieces
-  1 T ume plum vinegar
-  100 gr rocket (arugula)
-  2 T fresh chives, finely chopped
-  2 spring onions, finely chopped
-  1 T mustard
-  1 T balsamic vinegar
-  1 T pomegranate vinegar (optional–replace with an additional T of balsamic)
-  2 T olive oil
-  ½ t salt or to taste

Bring the potatoes to a boil in a pot of water.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until soft but not mushy.  Drain and put in a large salad bowl.

Add the ume vinegar and salt to the potatoes and mix gently so the potatoes pieces stay more of less whole.  Then gently mix in the chives and spring onions.

For the vinaigrette:  whisk together the mustard, vinegar and olive oil.  Pour over the potatoes and mix in well. 

At this point, the mixture should still be relatively warm.  Now is the time to add the rocket (arugula). 

Serve warm or at room temperature. 


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