My late grandmother, Ida, was a little Sicilian woman with a fiery spirit and a great big heart. She was also a master in the kitchen. So much of what my mother learned about cooking, she learned from Ida (her mother-in-law) and, of course, passed on to me. I attribute my appreciation of good food and my love of cooking to these two passionate foodies!
One of the things that Grandma Ida was emphatic about was that salad had to be prepared and served in a wooden salad bowl. She claimed that, over time, the bowl becomes “seasoned” – that is, it absorbs the flavors of the olive oil, vinegars, garlic and spices – and creates a much more flavorful salad. In fact, she always made the dressing in the wooden bowl and swirled it around a bit before tossing the greens in. All I know is, her salads were THE BEST!
So, I’ve always followed her strict instructions and prepared salad in a wooden bowl. I’ve had the same bowl for years and have been careful to care for it. No dishwasher. No soap. Only a quick rinse with very warm water (if it needs more than that, you can use some coarse salt or lemon juice to clean it…but I rarely need to use anything more than warm water), then I wipe it dry with a paper towel. This Acacia bowl by Sur La Table isn’t the exact one that I have (to be honest, mine is so old, I don’t even remember where I got it or what it was called), but it’s almost identical.
If you eat salad a lot, as I do, you might wish to test Grandma Ida’s theory for yourself. Or you might, as I do, follow her advice without questioning because…well, nobody’s ever given better advice about food than a Sicilian grandmother!?
(And if you need some salad inspiration, here are some of my favorite salad recipes.)