The Salads of Summer / #02

As usual, I'm in the middle of a dozen books; and, many of them seem to be colliding in this incredibly beautiful way right now. You know that moment when you're driving on the freeway and all the cars begin to do this synchronized lane-changing dance and you can't help but smile? It's like that only more profound. Well, maybe not more profound.  

The dance seems to stem from The Odyssey. We can probably agree that some pieces of literature need to be read at very specific times in our lives in order to extract deeper meaning. This is the one you read when you are going through a major transition that feels, in many ways, beyond your control, providing no clear understanding of how long it will last or how rough the waters. It is the Odysseus who is being pushed again to leave the peace and comfort of home, the Odysseus who really just doesn't want to right now, just not right now, with whom I identify. Some transitions have to happen -- you feel their need to breathe in a very visceral way -- but, often, there are scheduling conflicts, and, it appears: it's never a good time for transitions. Ugh. 

Then there is the self-help book Being Happy about how perfectionism, of which I suffer greatly, deters you from happiness. It differentiates negative perfectionists, or "perfectionists," from positive perfectionists, or "optimalists." Odysseus transitions from a perfectionist to an optimalist; and, it's kind of comforting to see a direct model of that sort of transition. He eventually learns that life is not necessarily meant to be one perfect, clean path towards an end goal; instead, a series of pitfalls, joys, failures, adventures on that path that are vital to your life because they become the story of your life. Sometimes difficult situations give us the opportunity to be brave and to be wise. And they are certainly -- and luckily -- imperfect. 

Then there is my favorite so far: All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age. I mean, come on, the second chapter is called David Foster Wallace's Nihilism. Yeah, I'm in love. DFW was definitely, most definitely, a perfectionist. (Did I mention I'm also reading Brief Interviews with Hideous Men?) Found this book by chance at the Pop Hop. It was published a couple of years ago and focuses on the burden of choice today -- like, actually today. Yes!, yes!, yes! it is such a burden! Needless to say, there is a chapter on Homer. And this addition has heightened my ability to extract a special sort of meaning from The Odyssey and, well, life. 

This has nothing to do with salad. Thank you for your patience. 

Chickpea, Cilantro, Carrot, 
Avocado, & Feta Salad

ingredients: 

  • chickpeas
  • cilantro, finely chopped
  • colorful carrots, thinly sliced
  • avocado, diced 
  • feta, crumbled 
  • dressing: evoo | apple cider vinegar | Maldon salt | quite a bit of black pepper

directions: 

1. Quickly whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl. 
2. Combine all salad ingredients, toss with dressing.

notes: 

1. Add as much as you like of each ingredient. Summer salads are relaxed. 
2. Summer salads are simple. Eat outside. Nap immediately afterwards.