The Inconvenient Crouton


I thought they came in a box. Another salad-related first: I made my own croutons.

Ten days into salad month, I am learning – by making my own vinaigrettes and dressings, chopping my own lettuces and veggies, and now making croutons – that it’s not that hard to make foods that are more delicious, more soul-satisfying, and more my own than the common supermarket “convenience” items that are supposed to be making my life easier and, therefore (because I am an American), better.

And it doesn’t take much more time either. What was I going to do with that time anyway?.. on a Saturday at lunchtime, for example.

making croutons

Making croutons.

I used a recipe at The Kitchn for guidance: DIY Croutons.

Preheat oven to 325˚. I did not have day-old French bread so I left three slices of Market Basket oatmeal bread on the counter for an hour to get a little stale. I don’t know if staleness is that important – other than that croutons are a way to use up stale bread. I guess pre-staling my bread was a bit silly.

I melted olive oil and butter in a skillet and added snipped fresh herbs from the window – oregano, rosemary and parsley, plus a couple of shakes of garlic powder and dried dill and a dash of paprika. I cooked it all for about a minute and the whole house smelled good!

I tossed the fragrant herbed butter-oil in a bowl with the cubed bread, then spread the bread out on a baking pan, sprinkled the cubes with sea salt, and baked for around 15 minutes.

Taste: really good!

The word crouton is derived from the French croûton, itself derived from croûte, meaning “crust.”

lunch salad

For lunch, John and I each had a big plate of March 9 salad with romaine, spinach, cucumbers, peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, the last of yesterday’s blue cheese dressing, some farmers market bacon, and homemade croutons.

This was not a diet salad. It was hearty. Homemade mayo into ranch dressing into blue cheese dressing, plus bacon, plus croutons!

If I were calculating nutrition, I would likely confirm my suspicions that this was the most fattening and caloric salad of the month. But let’s just enjoy it for what it was – a delicious and satisfying standalone lunch – and resolve for the rest of the month to maintain (do-it-yourself) flavor consciousness but be a little more health-conscious too.

Daylight savings time began last night. It’s Sunday morning and we have yet to fix the clocks and spring forward. We’ll get around to it. Don’t rush us.

John Updike, on America:

America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.

Americans have been conditioned to respect newness, whatever it costs them.

Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.