Today, on the Culinary Calendar, is National Fettucine Alfredo Day. This means diddley-squat in my household, as my daughter refuses to eat either mushrooms or warm ham.
Moving right along, 7 February is also the day, in 1989, that it was reported a rain of sardines fell in Ipswich, Australia. Also of no real relevance to me, my pilchard salad of last week having fallen rather flat as a weapon of revenge.
My office lunch today is a happy box of leftovers from yesterday. Yes, My Pal Mel came over for the purpose of what the younger set call ‘Hanging Out’. The occasion called for casual food that could be eaten with little pomp and absolutely no ceremony. I’d been intrigued by the word ‘salmagundi’ in Mister Schott’s little book and spent a bit of time on research, hoping for some good use to be put to the turkey I’d roasted the night before, and the ample and cheap current crop of figs.
Salmagundi (sometimes abbreviated as salmi) is a salad dish originating in the early 17th century England comprising cooked meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, leaves, nuts and flowers and dressed with oil, vinegar and spices. There is some debate over the meaning and origin of the word. The French word “salmagondis” means a hodgepodge or mix of widely disparate things.
In English culture the term does not refer to a single recipe, but describes the grand presentation of a large plated salad comprising many different and disparate ingredients. These can be arranged in layers or geometrical designs on a plate or mixed together. The ingredients are then drizzled with a dressing. The dish aims to produce wide range of flavours and colours and textures on a single plate. Often recipes allow the cook to add various ingredients which may be available at hand, producing many variations of the dish. Flowers from Broom and sweet violet were often used.
I kept My Pal Mel’s delicate palate in mind and substituted grilled haloumi cheese for the fish, and excluded the onions and pickling ingredients I had found contained in many of the salmagundi recipes I discovered.
A peaceful, gentle afternoon that staved off the lurking gloom of Monday.
Monday is a lame way to spend 1/7 of your life, said an unknown author, but what can we do about it? Have a good week, my friends.
Ps: Figs and turkey make delightful playmates of the tastebuds.