Salad for the Water-Logged: Just Write

September 30, 2013

Just write.



The woman cried when she saw the salad. Forget about the two heaving pans of lasagne, garlicky and steaming in my hands. Forget about the warm loaf of artisanal bread. She didn’t even see them. No, what this woman shed tears of joy over was a salad. It wasn’t even a good salad–in fact, as a girl who prides herself on her rockin’ salads–I’d deem this one semi-shitty. It didn’t have imported, aged cheese or homemade croutons or a zingy dressing. It was just a basic salad: romaine, slivers of carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper. Newman’s salad dressing.  Not a salad worthy of tears.

“Oh…you brought a salad,” she said, clutching Ziploc baggie with reverence. “I have been dying for a salad.”

Then she recoiled in guilt at her own enthusiasm. “I mean, it’s not that people haven’t been sweet and generous about bringing us meals. We’re really grateful and all of the food has been family-friendly and wonderful. It’s just that–” she gestures to the structure behind her–“when you don’t have a working refrigerator or stove or kitchen, for that matter, you get a lot of casseroles. Fresh fruit and vegetables are such a treat. Thank you so much.”

I stood on the driveway, arms groaning with lasagne, and tried not to gawk as the woman’s husband hauled reeking, ruined carpeting from the garage to the dumpster (one of many) on the street. I tried not to notice the two small children in the front yard, sitting on lawn chairs, watching him do this. I got that hot feeling behind my ears that warns me that tears are coming, but I gagged them back. I mean, Jesus. The last thing this woman needs is the Lasagne Lady weeping her ass off in her driveway.

I cried on the drive home and I cried when I told my husband, over dinner. But the thing that continues, for some reason, to make me cry days later is the salad.

All of the big things for this family are in ruins and a Ziploc-ed, sub-par salad brought joy. Comfort. A salad?

It seemed like such an odd thing, to be reverent about a salad, but as days go by I’ve been thinking on it, and thinking about what I most love to eat, and I get it. I totally get it now.

Humans of the feminine persuasion dig salads. They just do. People assume that we order them in restaurants because we’re watching the size of our arses–and to a degree that may be true–but many of us just hot-dang love a good salad.  Men and children aren’t salad-mad like women. They’ll gag down a salad, feeling virtuous about getting essential vitamins, but rarely, if ever, do they crave them.

I eat a salad every. single. day. If not twice.

If I didn’t get my salad, even if my mind was sizzled and bloated with things like dessicated carpet and insurance claims and bigsobig things, I’d miss my salad dearly. Maybe not the first day or two, when everything is a deep, black roar, but later? Oh, I’d yearn for salad.

And as a woman and a mother and a wife, salad would be the first thing I’d sacrifice if I needed to. If I needed meals from others, the first things I’d request are things that feed us all without fuss. Burgers. Lasagne. Casseroles. Soup.

It would feel selfish to mention salad–something only I truly adore. Heck, the littlest minx won’t even look at a salad, let alone eat it. It’s selfish to need something that won’t make everyone happy.


Let me tell you something. I am bringing that woman a big honking salad twice a week. I wish I could bring her one twice a day, so she never had to miss it, but I can’t. But twice a week, she’s going to find comfort in crunchy goodness and a bellyful of healthy, fresh things. And it won’t be a sucky salad, believe me.

It will be a salad like this:



As for the rest of the family, I’m going to continue bringing what keeps them warm inside, and that means casseroles. Dishes chock-to-the brim with things children and men find comforting, like cheese and carbohydrates.

Casseroles kind of classify as white-trash food, but do I care? When the universe kicks you hard in the gonads, you deserve cheese and carbohydrates. And booze. But hey. I’m just in charge of dinner.*


*CasseroleGate can only mean one thing, eh, readers? The return of White Trash MotherLode! It’s been shamefully long since I’ve cranked out a white trash post, so get your casserole-lovin’ shoes on because some are coming your way!



{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison September 30, 2013 at 11:50 pm

You are good peoples. xo


Amy Whitley October 1, 2013 at 6:45 am

I love your passion for people. Yes, you have a passion for food (and salad!) too, but when I come here, I’m always reminded of your passion for people. Thanks for this today, friend.


Abby October 1, 2013 at 6:46 am

Alison took the words right out of my mouth. XO


Sherri October 1, 2013 at 6:48 am

OMG – the simple things in life. Poor people. It does seem that the salad did bring great comfort and some normalcy to her turned upside down world right now. I can appreciate that. Very nice of you to do such a thing. Hope things are better out your way.


Shannon October 1, 2013 at 6:51 am

What Alison said.
You are bringing comfort to people, my friend. Delicious comfort.


Heidi Lawrence October 1, 2013 at 8:27 am

I am now crying. OMG, this is so great! You are the best – I mean it!


Contemporary Troubadour October 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

I understand that yearning for salad — good salad. Our fridge, which has been dead for three weeks (no repair appointments available till this Friday) has left us living out of a cooler. Salad doesn’t keep well in ice, so no fresh greens here. Obviously, our situation is merely inconvenient — nothing compared to post-flood recovery. But I hear that longing for the crisp of a working crisper. Love you and your enormous heart, Kitch.


J-Tony October 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Nice post. You’re right, chicks dig salads.


Caitlin October 1, 2013 at 7:23 pm

You’re so sweet, Dana!

I was wondering how can I help (realizing I’m unfortunately in DC)? Is there a website where I can donate $ to help these families? xoxo


TKW October 2, 2013 at 7:43 am


You are so kind! There are the big charities, like Red Cross etc., but I actually get a little frustrated with those because you don’t know where your money is going. We do have a site you can contact (but don’t feel obligated–really). *smooch* You have a sweet heart.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me October 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Gah, now I’m crying, too. Of course, I’ve been doing that pretty much all day, but still. I was pretty much done and now I read this. I probably would’ve done the same thing – stared at her and said “salad? seriously?” But you’re absolutely right. We girls love us some lettuce. Like you, I have one every day for lunch and sometimes for dinner besides. I basically pulverize them into my smoothies in the morning, too. I guess when you’re on the shitty end of the stick, those seemingly insignificant things suddenly become luxuries.


Jamie October 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I so get that woman. It’s the little things. Also, I love the mental image of you sniffling back tears whilst holding 1 million pounds of hot Italian food.


Barbara October 2, 2013 at 4:40 am

It’s always a surprise when you find out what people in need REALLY need. Most recently, I took some food over to a friend having chemo. What she preferred was chocolate or something like Dove bars, believe it or not. All regular food tasted metallic or just plain bad. Not the case with chocolate and the cold of the ice cream is pleasing to her palate. Luckily, she was a good enough friend to tell me.
Not all chemo patients have that problem, either. Best thing is to ask. You hit the nail on the head with the salad. Who would have thought?


TKW October 2, 2013 at 7:40 am


Mama had the same thing with the metallic taste during chemo. It drove her nuts. She even noticed that the metallic smell was coming out of her pores–she said she smelled weird and she hated it. All she wanted was VERY salty French onion soup. Odd, eh?


Kristen @ Motherese October 2, 2013 at 9:51 am

Love this. Love you. You are good people, my salad-lovin’ friend, and I’m lucky to have you in my life. xoxo


Katybeth October 2, 2013 at 10:50 am

I would be happy to contribute two large salads from Olive Garden (or where every else makes a decent salad). Just send me the bill and I will send you a check or Paypal.
Good work! Really good work ♥


Katybeth October 2, 2013 at 10:51 am

Sorry I don’t need the actual “bill” just the amount. :-D


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri October 2, 2013 at 11:17 am


Kindness. I am glad to see its still alive. Thank you, Kitch. xoxo


Phoo-d October 2, 2013 at 11:58 am

Salad can truly be a memorable and moving thing when you are in need. I remember in vivid detail the gorgeous but simple salad my dear friend brought over for our first night home from the hospital with Anna. I was so exhausted and emotionally wrung out at that point that a fresh salad made me cry too.

Your kind and generous heart is shining through as you help your neighbors recover from being blindsided by mother nature. I already knew that you were good people, but now you really can’t hide it! xoxo


Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla October 2, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Oh my, can I relate! I sit down with this gigantic bowl of the weeds that are called “kale salad” at Costco (minus the fattening bag of calories that comes with it) and heartily much away like a goat. The rest of the family can be eating pizza, or cake, and, honestly, I am not jealous. I am made out of this stuff.


Tiffany October 3, 2013 at 3:14 am

Damn it, the salad story made me cry!!! I agree…I would miss a salad too. You can’t fool us anymore with your black heart claims. ;)


tracy@sellabitmum October 3, 2013 at 3:46 am

Dang – I loved this so much. It’s okay to cry over salad – and love.


Arnebya October 3, 2013 at 7:18 am

My boy is hard wired for salad. Loaded salad. Salad with bleu cheese or feta, tomatoes, eggs, onions, croutons, apples, cranberries. I love that about him. But you’re absolutely right: it is usually something innate with women, that craving, that desire. This salad picture has my mouth watering. I am thankful for your graciousness, your caring, thankful to call you friend. Continue to feed and be what people need.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes October 4, 2013 at 4:34 am

This. This is why I love you.
You are such a good person.


Jennifer October 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Comfort food is the very thing you need at a time like that. Even if comfort food for you is a salad.


Rob October 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm

You have such a big heart! I hate making salads and I rarely order them. But, I can totally understand that need for food that is fresh, almost alive, that can nourish your body and soul. It is like a glass of cold fresh water after being in the desert. How lucky your neighbor is that you were listening to her heart :)


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