"What is that?"
"Well, what WAS that?"
"I don't remember."
I can fix a prime rib, loaded baked potatoes, hot rolls, steamed asparagus, and dessert with less effort than it takes to make a salad.
To start with, there’s all that grubbing in the rotter—I mean the crisper—in the refrigerator, for salad vegetables that might possibly be younger than our dog. I usually just get a bucket out of the garage and a chair out of the dining room and make an afternoon of it.
There are plastic bags in the rotter. Some of them are full of brown goo. There’s always one that holds the wrinkled, leaking corpses of cucumbers. Then there’s one that has a head in it—could be human—probably iceberg lettuce; 'probably' being the operative word, because at this point I don’t recognize it at all, and I do not want to investigate. All I know is that no one in my immediate vicinity is missing a head. So, unless someone broke in and dropped a moldering cranium into my personal rotter, it must be lettuce.
I plop all this stuff into the bucket trying to avoid thinking about the car payment I could make with the money that’s just gone to waste. Bill shakes his head and does the walk of shame out to the garbage pile where he dumps it all for the birds and whatever else shows up to eat.
What I’m getting to here is that when my omnivore husband decides he can’t live another day without some raw greens and is unwilling to eat the suspect scrapings from the rotter, we go out for salad. That usually means we drive to a truck stop out on Highway 80 that has a menu featuring platters of gigantic food, many under the heading of 'All You Can Eat'. They also have a lavish, fully stocked salad bar. I think it’s perfect because it has potato salad, macaroni salad, chocolate pudding, and soup.
We fill our plates. Mine has the aforementioned, plus radishes, celery, carrots, tomatoes, a small pile of obligatory greens, hard-boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, croutons, bacon bits, and thousand island dressing. Bill’s plate is a fresh vegetable fiesta. He has an enormous pile of greens, broccoli, radishes, cucumbers, olives, celery, jicama, and those partially formed corn fetuses that have become so popular at every salad bar, all heavily festooned with ranch dressing.
We have the same discussion every time we go. He complains loudly, complete with the occasional retching noise, that I am again consuming tomatoes at the same table at which he is trying to eat. I make the observation that he is willfully consuming what amounts to limp, unformed corn cobs that have broken out with some kind of prepubescent rash.
We then discuss the origin of these flaccid rods of disgust. I tell him they cannot have spawned from regular corn, because corn cobs are a foot long and distinctly not limber by the time they begin to form corn. These corn fetuses only resemble tiny corn cobs. They are something else entirely and should not be consumed until it is determined that they definitely did not come from anywhere near that broken nuclear reactor in Japan.
Bill spears a corn fetus and brandishes it in my direction as he states unequivocally that they taste like corn and so they have to be corn. The corn fetus sags on his fork, looking every bit like a forlorn little mutant, separated from the mother ship, ranch dressing dripping off its tiny, pointy head. Bill bares his teeth and nips it in two.
I try not to look.