Is It Okay to Call Something Meat Salad?

chorizo, watermelon, papaya, red onion and feta salad
While awake in the middle of the night, hoping like hell one’s infant will go back to sleep soon, one experiences a range of emotions, including, but not limited to, joy, frustration, fatigue, anger, sadness, despair and, with any luck, relief. And, as one sits rocking away or pacing incessantly in the inky blackness of the wee hours, one’s mind has a tendency to wander. If sleep deprivation didn’t rob one’s short-term memory, I’m sure some of those wandering thoughts would be quite fascinating to recall. Equally, I’m sure, most would be best left unremembered.

Nonetheless, it’s entirely possible that during those miserable vigils I have had one or two stellar ideas that I wanted, and somehow expected, to remember upon waking exhausted the next morning. Happily, forgetfulness also prevents disappointment at moments of inspiration lost. The situation is reminiscent of that old joke about the man who upon being informed by the doctor that he has both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, replies, “Ah well, it could be worse, I suppose. At least I don’t have Alzheimer’s too.”

Long-term fatigue also tends to deprive one of any kind of inspiration during the day, making one more than usually reliant upon external sources. This is especially true at the end of a long winter spent largely confined to quarters. As long-time readers may know, we have been, and remain, rather skeptical of social media. Our opinion being that it allows people to be highly selective of what they share, enabling them to project an image of themselves alarmingly at odds with reality, but amongst all the noisy over-amplified joy and complaints about petty things, there occasionally arrives something worthwhile.

This past Saturday, after a particularly wakeful night, and as the news hysteria peaked about the latest blizzard to hit our area, I noticed a simple and fresh composed salad of watermelon, red onion and feta on Instagram. There was nothing unusual about it, in fact, as compared to a lot of the food we see on that social channel, it was remarkably plain and unadorned. Perhaps that was what struck me. Perhaps it was that I knew similar ingredients were inhabiting our fridge or perhaps it was simply that being so tired the attraction of assembling a dish over cooking one was apparent.

chorizo, watermelon, papaya, red onion and feta salad

Even so, I was still able to make the connection between watermelon and melon, and join together the prosciutto that accompanies melon in the classic Italian summertime appetizer with the Spanish chorizo we had bought at Wegmans. But that was about as much inspiration as I could muster, so the remainder of the dish – red onion, feta, papaya – got on to the plate by virtue of their presence to hand. Even the rather uninspired name – meat salad – isn’t my idea. Credit for that goes to @alanavisco, close friend and Instagram devotee.

I forget who it was but some wise chap once quipped that good composers borrow, great composers steal, so it may be agreed that there is nothing wrong with copying. Feel free to make a facsimile of this, you won’t be disappointed.

9 thoughts on “Is It Okay to Call Something Meat Salad?

  1. Sorry you’re not sleeping well but glad you’re posting again, my fellow lover of chorizo. Yes, I’ve used it a salad but a predictable one with a garbanzo base. Love the idea with fruit. I know it had to work!

  2. Ah the wonders of parenthood. I remember the sleepless nights, I don’t remember being as creative! Great salad, jealous I didn’t think of it first.

    1. @LSGourmet: as you may be able to tell, we were pretty proud of ourselves with this. And it’s only a salad. I guess that speaks volumes about our fragile mental state…

  3. I hope you guys get more sleep soon!
    This looks delicious. I think my son is about the same age as your newest arrival (Julian was born on 12/12/13) so I commend you for putting together anything at all since when my mother isn’t around we end up with a lot of take out. There were also a lot of slow cooked roasts because it’s relatively easy to throw a pork shoulder into the oven to cook all day. But now that maternity leave has ended, well. Things are not looking good for cooking.

    1. @Christine: congratulations! That’s so great! Love the name Julian (it’s our first, Paolo’s, middle name)! In fact, Julian is three days older than our daughter, Emiliana. Hope he’s a good sleeper and you’re getting some rest! Best of luck with the baby, cooking and being back at work. We know how tough that is. (And major thanks for taking the time to visit our blog when you have so many more important things to be doing!)

  4. Your dish has less meat and more salad to it than the ‘salads’ I ate in Bavaria Seriously, why did they use the term salad? They were in fact a 2 inch thick layer of sauagage meat in vinaigrette with a very small lettuce leaf on top.

    Your creation looks much more appealing.

    1. @Ros: same is true in Russia, except that there in place of meat, it’s mayo. All salads are drowning in gloopy mayonnaise and fried onions, and are mostly made up of cubes of boiled potato. It’s fine once in a while, but it’s hardly a healthy alternative.

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