We are a salad

I spend all my time in the car listening to food podcasts. Mark gave me an I-Pod for Christmas last year, even though I told him I would never use it. Now, I can’t walk ten feet without it. Does that make me technologically savvy? I sure hope so.

At any rate, I was listening to the Splendid Table and Lynne Rossetto Kasper was interviewing Marcus Samuelsson (who was born in Ethiopia, raised in  Sweden and now cooks in the United States) and talked about America being a melting pot. Oh, no, Samuelsson said. We are a salad. We are a salad because everyone can bring their own food traditions to this country and not have to dilute them to blend in. Every part of a salad is separate and distinct and equally enjoyed (unless you’re Bunny and you don’t like red onions).

That got me to thinking about how things have improved around here over the last few years. When we moved to Brentwood, which is just outside Nashville, 16 years ago there was a Red Lobster, a J. Alexander’s (kind of like Ruby Tuesday’s) and a few meat n’ threes. We were not excited. But one by one, immigrants crept in. How they found Nashville I’m not quite sure, but I’m glad they did. All those people who want to put fences up around the U.S. borders so no one can get in (or out) must not have eaten at a Thai restaurant lately.

Now our dining decisions go something like this. We can go to the Thai restaurant and get my favorite thing in the world to eat: larb. It’s ground up chicken with spices and lime juice that you eat in iceberg lettuce leaves. Or we can go to the Vietnamese place and get this really terrific pork with rice noodles, cilantro and fish sauce. How about roasted goat? The Indian buffet we went to on Sunday had it. Yummy.

Or my go-to dish when I’m feeling good about being bad: chorizo and eggs. The Mexican kind of chorizo that you take out of the casing. We can now find this at several authentic Mexican restaurants, but you can also easily make it at home.

Here’s what you do (more of a procedure than a recipe!). Take the chorizo out of the casing and fry it in a skillet until it’s kind of crispy. Add in some beaten eggs. You don’t need any other seasoning because the chorizo is spicy. When the eggs are soft-set scrambled, cut off the heat. Nuke a few tortillas, hopefully from a Mexican grocery store where they make them by hand. Fill the tortillas with the egg and chorizo mixture and roll them up like a burrito.

I am thankful to Armando Durazo for this recipe. He and I worked in Reno together and he brought back homemade tortillas from his ancestral home in Tuscon. He’d share them with us, along with this recipe.

Salad is good. I don’t think there can be a big enough bowl.

5 Comments

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5 Responses to We are a salad

  1. As the former Tennessean food writer, I resent your depiction of Nashville’s mid-1990s food options. Why, it’s criminal to speak of the town without evoking Kenny Rogers’ Roasters at least once …

    • the south in my mouth

      Dang it, I missed Kenny Rogers’ Roasters. I also remember that in the high end restaurants in Nashville, the only fish they offered was salmon. We just had to laugh when the waiter asked if we’d like to hear the fish specials.

  2. paul

    Can you name the Indian restaurant? My wife and I moved to Franklin last year and haven’t yet looked for a great Indian restaurant … kind of afraid to be disappointed, if you know what I mean.

    • the south in my mouth

      It’s called Bombay Bistro on Carothers Parkway. It opened in June and the buffet is a little pricey at $9.99 but the food is good and the nan comes hot out of the oven slathered in butter! A less expensive alternative is Sitar in Nashville – very good buffet for about $6.

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