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Make-do Salad

When I was a kid, my favorite side dish was my mom’s make-ahead salad.  Covered in mayo with apples and bacon, the only thing healthy abut this special-occasion recipe was the word salad in its name.  Then came the eighties and, with it, the nutrition and fitness craze (which I obviously avoided), and the parties were over.  At least, the ones with make-ahead salad were.

My parents – usually healthy eaters to begin with – joined the Fiber Festival and  began making healthier salads part of their routines.  They weren’t as good as my favorite the peas and lettuce mingled with bacon and mayonnaise, but the change did prime my taste buds (and my psyche) for a recipe I like to call Make-Do salad.

I used to think this recipe had its genesis in my garden – I make with whatever I do find that’s ready to pick.  Now, however, I realize that mine is one of millions of versions that all parents and people living near need (most people at some point in their lives) have created over centures.

I inherited the basics from my parents – both children of the depression – and honed it during layoffs, healthcare-induced cashecotmies, and new-parent panic attacks.  It’s probably pretty similar to yours, but I thought I’d share it.


Make Do Salad

(Serves as many as needed)


1 c. Patience

2/3 c.  This, too, shall pass

1 c. loyalty

1 healthy dose of skepticism

Season with salt, pepper, dash of sarcasm

(Optional ingedients)

3 c. lettuce

1 Zucchini or Summer Squash

2-3 tomatoes


Dress with as much Humor as needed


Pick and rinse whatever you have in your garden.  Dice small portions to make them seem larger.  Toss. If you’re out of everything but lettuce, add more dressing.  (Calories – varies)

The veggies in this recipe may vary, but I think the most important ingredient is the dressing.  That is the one part of the recipe that each chef has to concoct on their own, and it has taken a long time to develop mine.  But when the salad days are short, it goes a long way toward stretching my resources and sanity.