Future picnic

picnic salad

A kind of coleslaw, with cabbage, radishes, green pepper, cilantro and very good dressing.

The term “coleslaw” arose in the eighteenth century as an Anglicisation of the Dutch term “koolsla”, a shortening of “koolsalade”, which means “cabbage salad.”

March 13: Picnic (in the dining room) Salad

I was following a recipe for Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad from Simply Recipes but I couldn’t find napa cabbage or snow peas and I forgot the spring onions and I added a green pepper (to use it up). Also, I forgot to toast the almonds and just sprinkled them on at the end. I was springstruck from being outside in March sunshine all afternoon.

Anyway, the important part of this recipe was the dressing… which was very, very tasty.

dressing prep

Dressing ingredients (minus the minced garlic, which I remembered to add at the end).

Whisk rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, toasted sesame oil, garlic, ground ginger and cayenne pepper together, then add mayonnaise. The mere half teaspoon of toasted sesame oil was the key ingredient, I thought, adding distinctive, delicious fragrance and flavor to this dressing.

Sesame is a nutritious, antioxidant-rich flavor enhancer used in many Asian cuisines. It was first cultivated as an oil crop in the Indus Valley civilization and exported to Mesopotamia around 2500 B.C. The oil is used in massage and alternative healing therapies like Ayurveda “to pacify stress related symptoms.”


Here is the salad just before tossing, which I did with my hands. Ah, salad massage!

Radishes are pretty and have a nice bite of flavor, for a vegetable. They are one of the first crops we can grow in the spring, but we have to restrain ourselves from planting our radishes too early.

It’s too early for everything here right now, even though yesterday was beautifully sunshiny and nearly 50 degrees. The snow is melting, the ground is muddy, cold seeps out from the woods, the sun is hot, the trees are still bare, but the birds are singing their spring songs and there were ducks on our pond yesterday.

We ate our picnic salad at dinnertime, in the dining room, with roast beef and roasted new potatoes dressed with a little truffle oil. We imagined picnics to come.

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.  – Charles Dickens