Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Question and A Gift

I know that the things I write on this blog are kind of self-contained little essays often. I also know that sometimes Google makes responding on this blog difficult. (Sometimes it doesn't even recognize me!). I've been curious though to watch my statistics: the number of readers peaked in May and June, slipped in July, sagged in August and is rebounding later in September. I'm wondering if readers of blogs take a break in the summer too, whether you get out of your regular rhythms and routines. Which is so often a good thing. Summer is a great time to stock the larder and to be out of time. I was wondering if what I wrote had become too self-contained or self-reflective -- a blog all about me, and not something readers could connect with. Maybe that IS it. I'm open to suggestions, either way.

And the gift: two nights this week I made the salad I would ask for if it were my last meal. One of those nights was the night Troy Davis was executed in the US, so I didn't want to be callous and call it Death Row Salad, but really, upon reflection, it is that good. The flavours complement each other in amazing ways. I think you have to like all the flavours individually, but together -- oh baby.

So, to those who've stuck in here past the summer and past the containedness of the writing, a gift -- the recipe for the best salad I know:

Wash a couple of handfuls of baby arugula. Dry it well and spread it gently, like a fleece, on a large salad plate. Drizzle with the finest quality olive oil you can manage. (I love the locally-imported Ralo's olive oil.) Then drizzle with real balsamic vinegar. It costs a fortune. We were fortunate enough to get ours in Italy in a winery that made balsamico in their attic. What we normally get here is balsamic-flavoured wine vinegar. Real balsamic vinegar is thick as oil or maple syrup, and dark-sweet-tart. You need the tiniest amount of this -- which still, I calculate, costs about $5.00 Then grind pepper on top and sprinkle with a wee bit of salt. Finally, grate real Parmigiano-Reggiano (or similar aged cheese like Grana Padano) on top.

It tastes like the deepest tastes of the earth have come together for a celebration. Try not to moan out loud -- I dare you.

1 comment:

  1. I hear death row last meals have been banned by the Texas governor after someone made an overly extravagant request.

    Don't know what I'd choose for my last meal. Probably beans and rice. Or some really buttery cheesy risotto.

    Anyway ... thinking about blog numbers and viewers, I don't really have anything of substance to tell you or suggest to you. I check out my numbers, too, probably more than I should. I know there are ways to build blog viewership, such as visiting other blogs and commenting, and "following" other blogs (I hate that term), and doing prize giveaways. None of which I've yet to do. Whatever readership I have has been built slowly, people finding the blog and enjoying what they read and coming back, and in some cases almost becoming what I would call friends, though I may not ever meet them (I'd really like to meet some of them, actually!). I don't know if that's wise of me--not to market myself better. But I'm not sure how it would change the blog to feel I were writing for a bigger audience. Still, I do think about it, too.

    Let me know if you come up with anything.