11.17.2011

Crunchy Cabbage Salad


Do you ever cook from memory?

Did you have a memorable dish once that you try to recreate just so you can relive the moment again and again? Maybe it was that great brunch in New York with your sister where you drank mimosas and ate that delicious egg asparagus thing with toast, or the melting chocolate cake from your anniversary, or the crab salad that your grandma always makes? We celebrate with food all the time, how could it not hold special meanings??

Have you heard for the Proust Effect
? It explains how memory is directly connected to our sense of smell. Memories that are triggered by smell are always much more vivid than other rememberings. Taste is pretty much besties with smell so a lot of your scent induced memories will be of food.  I just thought I would drop a little psychology on you, Marcel Proust wrote all about it, read his book if you’re into it.

Almost all my favorite dishes have a memory attached to them, each spice a story, every recipe a reminiscence. Sometimes they are specific moments and sometimes it is just a feeling.
A few years ago, my mom and I used to work very close to each other and we would meet on our lunch breaks and go for walks where we laughed hysterically the whole time. We would argue where we would want to eat out for the rare times we didn’t bring lunch, and there was a little Japanese place that we could always agree on.

They made a salad really similar to this… I think… Ok, I added pears and I know they weren’t in there, but still, it needed them. It was called Sumi Salad at the resaurant.
2 Handfuls Shredded Cabbage
¼ Cup Sliced Almonds
3 Whole Green Onions
2 TB Sesame Seeds
3 TB Rice Vinegar
1 TB Sesame Oil
3 TB Vegetable Oil
1 TS Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper
Thinly Sliced Pear

Whisk Rice Vinegar, Vegetable Oil, Sesame Oil, Dijon Mustard in a bowl. Shred cabbage and slice green onions and pears. Throw them in there. Sesame Seeds. Almonds. Throw them in there too. Salt and Pepper. Toss. Done. Soy Ginger Glazed Salmon, Sticky Rice and you have a beautiful lunch.
This tastes like afternoon strolls with your best friend, tangy and healthy, laughing until your cheeks can’t take it anymore, crunch for days, juicy little surprise bites of sweet pear, lunch out with your mama.
I hope that all of your meals are memorable ones. That you make grilled cheese the kind of occasion where you take out the fancy plates.  Cherish those moments where you are spliting dessert and sharing secrets.
Live your life taking full advantage of all your senses.

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