By Bobbie Jo Lieberman
I was raised in a salad-loving family in the meat-and-potatoes â€˜50s. Thanks to my mother Gloriaâ€™s Italian heritage, fresh green salads were the focal point of every dinner, and every breakfast began with half a thin-skinned, pink grapefruit, carefully sectioned. You could say that fresh produce runs in our DNA. My grandfather Frank was known as the â€œLemon Kingâ€ of South Water Market in Chicago, and my Uncle Sonny was a buyer of fresh produce for the US Government in Salinas, California.
My mom shopped for fresh produce almost daily, and assembling our dinner salad became a cherished ritual: hearts of iceberg lettuce (in those days that was about all we had), carefully kept crisp in the fridge and then torn into small, tender chunks; tomatoes when tomatoes were tasty; cucumbers and celery, and occasionally black olives.
But it was the dressing that set my momâ€™s salads apart. First came the olive oil, lightly coatingâ€”not drenchingâ€”every surface. Then came a healthy spritz of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt, my mom tossing and tasting each layer until she pronounced it perfect. (I donâ€™t think I ever saw a bottle of prepared salad dressing in our house.) My mom took salads seriously, and she made them in a yellow Pyrex bowl large enough to truly mix it all. I can still recall the â€œclinkâ€ of large spoons as she tossed that salad each step of the way, making it mouth-wateringly perfect.
We often enjoyed salad as our first course of dinner, sitting down to enjoy and appreciate all the flavors, perhaps with a piece of crusty hot bread. Looking back on those traditional times, this was quite a feat. It paid off. In fact, when my dad was in his nineties (still working, building, inventing), his physician asked him about his dietâ€”he had never seen such flexible veins in a person of his age. I donâ€™t think my dad ever ate anything out of a bag, box or can his entire life.
Kenny and I prepare and enjoy Sassy Salads every day, whether we are at home or on the road. Having a life partner who shares your deepest beliefs about health and nutrition is beyond compare. We have each overcome significant health challenges, and now our paths have joined as we support each other on our continuing journey to healing. The natural evolution of this journey has instilled in us a burning passion to support others in their quest for healing. Our book, Sassy Salad Secrets, is the result. We invite you to join us on this healing pathâ€”for yourself and your loved ones, of course, but also for our planet.