Faith Salad

June 30, 2012

I’m pretty open about the fact that I’m an agnostic. My husband is an athiest, an unflinching man of science. I’m not embarrassed about my lack of faith–the way I see it, if religion (any religion) works for you, that’s great. I just don’t really happen to be interested.

There are different kinds of agnostics on this planet: some wrestle with the idea of faith, wondering if there really is something else out there. Some say they are spiritual people, just not ones who conform to one doctrine.  Some waffle back and forth, relying on prayer when they feel lost (hey, it’s a good insurance policy) but don’t formally worship. And then there are some, like me, who just never saw the point of it.

Mama and Daddy tried for a little while, dragging my sullen little arse to a North Dakota Lutheran church, but I made such a stink about going that they finally just gave up.  Mama’s not a believer, either, and if there’s a woman who ever should have turned to prayer, it’s her. Nope.  She believes in The Church of Grit.

Sometimes I envy people with strong faith in God. It would be nice to be so sure about something, to feel, deep in your bones, that someone up there was looking out for you. It would be nice to feel secure that upon your death, something else happened beyond a rotting carcass in the dirt. Believe me, that part of the equation doesn’t appeal to me, either.  It would be nice to think that all things–even bad ones–were part of a higher plan.

I don’t have that spiritual security, so when bad things happen, I just sort of flail about, looking for someone to blame. I jest. Sort of. I don’t always have to blame someone, but let me tell you, when the chemo bags come out or there’s senseless violence in the world or people behave abominably to others, my heart is at a loss.

It’s during those times when I lean on my friends who are faithful, and ask them to do the praying for me.  And they do. Because my religious friends–and I have quite a few–are very, very nice people.  They’ll happily pray on this heathen’s behalf, and for that, I am grateful.  Maybe it’s a little selfish of me, asking them to do the heavy lifting, but what can I say?

I rationalize it by trying really hard to be a kind person, a giving person, a responsible person. It’s that insurance policy thing again. If God does exist, I hope he’ll throw me a few extra credit points at the end, just for effort. I belong to The Church of Don’t Be a Douche; that should count for something, right?

I had one of my faithful friends over for lunch the other day, after several weeks of phone tag and cancellations. This summer is kicking my butt, I swear. As Mama would say, I’ve been “busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger.”

But finally our schedules aligned, and I made my friend this salad. My friend Annette has consistently been a shoulder to lean (and sometimes cry) on this past year, and I’m so lucky. I wish I could have all of you readers who’ve held me in your thoughts and prayers over for lunch, just to say thanks. Wouldn’t that be great?

Warning: making this salad does require a leap of faith–when you first read the recipe, you’re going to think that it sounds a little weird. And honestly, I’m not usually a fan of fruit in my savory salads, but I went there, and I was glad. Cherries are so luscious this time of year, and they add a nice, juicy burst to this salad.  Don’t fear the combination of onion and cherry and basil–it somehow works, I swear.  My friend asked me where the recipe came from and I replied, “out of my ass.”  I don’t know if Jesus makes her patient or if it’s just her big heart, but she laughed. She likes my heathen-ish side, thank goodness.

Have a little faith and try this salad. It’s terrific. In fact, it’s so good that my friend did The Yummy Dance when she took a bite of it. I love a girl with a good Yummy Dance. And a good soul.

Faith Salad

serves 2

3 cups mixed greens

1/2 cup fresh ripe cherries, pitted and sliced

2 tablespoons red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn

1/4 cup pecans, toasted

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup rotisserie chicken, sliced or shredded

3 tablespoons of your favorite raspberry vinaigrette (I use Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette)

Toss all of the ingredients except dressing together in a bowl. Add dressing and serve. Heathens also welcome.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Abby June 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

Just when I think I couldn’t adore you more, you write a post that expresses my exact spiritual sentiments with 100 percent accuracy. I am in the same boat as you and will leave it at that. From one heathen to another, I have faith you’ll understand.

Stay cool and stay safe, my friend!


TKW June 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm


Hello, fellow Heathen! The good news is, when we expire, we’ll be in the same place. Hopefully having cocktails.


Annette June 30, 2012 at 9:04 am

I love you too, Sweetheart! And I’m making this salad tonight. It’s simply marvelous, and so are you.


TKW June 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm


You are such a gift.


Barbara June 30, 2012 at 11:02 am

It’s a brilliant salad. I DO love fruit and lettuce and make a similar salad although I use gorgonzola.
It’s wonderful to have a dear friend. Hold her close.


TKW June 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm


She is, indeed, dear. As are you. xo


Dawn June 30, 2012 at 11:49 am

We put grapes in chicken salad, right? Yum! So I see nothing weird about putting cherries in this salad. And coming from Michigan where one of our biggest exports are cherries…well…the more you eat the better for us!


TKW June 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm


You live in Michigan? Are you anywhere near Zingerman’s–my favorite place on earth? I am jealous on so many levels.


Dawn June 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Not too far…Zingerman’s is in Ann Arbor where both my parents come from, so there’s family there. I went to grad school at the U 2006-2008. Don’t hate me when I say I’ve never been to Zingerman’s…but I’ve eaten their bread regularly! :)


TKW June 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm


Get thy rear end to Zingerman’s soon! Get the pastrami or corned beef sandwich. And a loaf of olive bread to go.


Dawn July 1, 2012 at 12:35 am

On my way now. No wait. It’s 3:30 a.m.

Naptimewriting June 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Oh, pumpkin…”when the chemo bags come out or there’s senseless violence in the world or people behave abominably to others, my heart is at a loss…” Well, so are people of faith. There’s nothing about “it’s just god’s will” that sounds or feels right. But it gives the blissful permission to admit helplessness and not try to figure it out. I can’t live that way myself, but I see the appeal.

I love fruit and protein salads. Nobody questions you, love. Except the part where recipes come out of your butt. That’s just an expression that requires serious transcendental faith. Let me know the next recipe that comes out of thin air.


TKW June 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm


I have plenty of recipes to share. Alas, thin air has nothing to do with it. They are either “out the ass” or “throw whatever shit you have in a bowl.” Gosh, I am so classy.


Tina June 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Dear KW,
This is going to be dinner (and maybe lunch, too) just as soon as I get my hands on some cherries.
I’m a very appreciative fan of “shit in a bowl” and I couldn’t care less if you shit it out your ass or wiggled your nose and made it appear out of thin air. Good is good, no matter it’s origin. Or their faith.
Real and true friends are hard to come by- good souls stick together.
I wish more people of this earth followed the good Church of Don’t Be A Douche.
I adore you for this post.
Be happy and be well~


TKW June 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm


You are my kind of girl. I’m so glad you commented!


camilla June 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Like you I would also love to be a believer in the bigger picture, alas, I just don’t see it. I’ll be in hell with 90% of my mates sipping on a martini if there is a life after this one!
I can see how this salad would work it’s just a pity we are freezing here and all I can think if is slow cooked anything! I’ll store it away for summer :)


TKW June 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm


Unfair that you are freezing and we are burning. What is mother nature up to this year? I think she has had a bout of year-long PMS. ;)


suzicate June 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Ha, I think most of us have a bit of heathen in us! I think you’re divine just as you are! Sometimes the oddest ingredient make the best dishes, right?


TKW June 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm


I honestly didn’t know if this salad would work, but hey, I embrace the odd. :)


Arnebya June 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I vacillate between outright believing, wanting to believe, and a feeling of absolute ambivalence.

I LOVE fruit in my salad (not oranges!). I said that real fast because oooh no.


TKW July 1, 2012 at 4:30 pm


Me no likey oranges in salad either.


Scargosun July 1, 2012 at 7:51 am

Soooo glad I found your site not only for the cooking stuff but that post also dead on for the way I feel about faith as well. For me, faith is a constant struggle for me to believe in ME first. I want to feel that I have it in myself to overcome. When friends put a email or FB post for prayers, I go for the dedication of a yoga practice or the positive feelings I get from a task and send it out to them. I like your church as well. I’d like to visit when I am not attending Bedside Baptist with Pastor Pillow. ;)


Biz July 1, 2012 at 9:42 am

This line made me laugh out loud! “busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger.”

And I love fruit in salad – my husband thinks otherwise so when we eat out I almost always order a salad like that.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend! Hugs!


TKW July 2, 2012 at 4:40 am


Isn’t that a weird phrase? But Mama uses it all the time and it never fails to make me laugh.


Jennifer July 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

This looks absolutely amazing.


Jane July 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

As long as it’s salad, I don’t care if there’s fruit in it. Yum. I love coming here during salad season. You make me feel all healthy inside. ;)


TKW July 2, 2012 at 4:41 am


I have to eat all of these salads because it’s gin and tonic season :)


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes July 2, 2012 at 5:50 am

When summer starts here I’m giving it a go. Right now we are in the clutches of a “depression”. Wish the Belgian weather gods would take some xanax.


TKW July 2, 2012 at 10:43 am


If you are cold, the Belgian weather gods need a stimulant, like cocaine. We, who are rotting in this heat, need to give our gods the xanax. ;)


Sherri July 2, 2012 at 7:22 am

Yummage on the salad – totally making it.

Ditto on the faith thing for me. My kids all go to Catholic school because my beloved Dad, who passed away a few years ago, was one of those people – just had pure faith in some sort of God despite being a science / math guy (which always baffled me), and I do try to live my life in his example. Plus… I’m a total cultural Catholic – raised in an ethnic, Catholic household – know the rules when it comes to that church :). I do not know what I believe, though – just happy that my kids are in small, happy schools with a strong sense of community and responsibility – and that I feel accepted in my lack of faith and my exploration of other belief systems like Buddhism, etc. I do envy the faithful – I do.

Thanks for the salad.


TKW July 2, 2012 at 10:44 am


Do you still get to wear the cute uniforms? *That* I always have envied.


Sherri July 2, 2012 at 11:04 am

Yes- the uniforms are still in tact. I do not wear them, but the kids rock them. OK – am doing the salad today actually because it is 100 degrees here in PA, but…. now….. I’m all pensive and shit – as I make the salad. A good thing, I think – even if I am a heathen and all.


Jenna July 2, 2012 at 9:44 am

I love how you connected the story of your faith with the story of this salad. Hee hee.


Mr TKW July 2, 2012 at 10:25 am

This looks delicious! I only object to tangy fruit in salad, but cherries are cool with me. As far as religion goes, I am a follower of “DBADism.” It is least likely to infringe on the happiness of others.


TKW July 2, 2012 at 10:48 am

Mr. TKW,

You never seem to infringe upon or offend anyone. Why the fuck did you marry me, the Instigator?


BigLittleWolf July 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm

If we had more “kind, giving, and responsible” people, we’d all be better off… (And some (smart and savvy) men love a great instigator…)


xoxo to all the TKWs…


Justine July 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm

We’re the same combo in our house too. Agnostic, Atheist, 2 feisty half-Asian little girls. It’s like we’re living the same life. But not… :)

After tasting Nigella’s watermelon, feta, olive and mint salad, I’m a believer in the possibility of any combos. Your salad looks wonderfully refreshing and delicious. Just like your stories, in fact.

I miss this part of the web. Like you, summer’s been kicking my butt and I am glad for some time to steal away to my favorite nooks. So here I am. I hope you’re well.


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Annie July 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I swear, sometimes I think you and I are the same person, or at least have a very similar personality. I wish we lived close so we could talk about all this crap in person :) Thankfully I do have one friend nearby who shares our feelings on faith, or our lack thereof. It’s nice to know that others understand.

PS, you probably already know it but there are at least 10 spam comments on this post.


TKW July 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Annie, I am begging my best computer guru to help me. This sucks so bad! As does summertime and big baseball turds…I wish you lived next door. I’d bring the wine.


Tiffany July 18, 2012 at 4:06 am

I am agnostic too…and that’s after a lifetime of church every Sunday and loving it. I think you described how I feel perfectly. This line is me in a nutshell: I belong to The Church of Don’t Be a Douche; that should count for something, right?

And this salad is right up my alley…I’ll be making it tonight!!!


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