I know what you’re thinking. Get rid of salad dressing? What the heck? But before you dismiss this as just another organic, clean-eating health blog, hear me out.
First of all, my gripe with salad dressing has nothing to do with its possible health repercussions. I am all for eating candy, chips and pasta, so it would be pretty hypocritical for me to say, “Thou shalt not eat salad dressing because of its 45 calories,” when a plate of cooked pasta has upward of 200.
My actual caveat with salad dressing is, in fact, the taste, or rather the evolution of the taste throughout the course of consumption. There is the subtle flavor when you initially put it in your mouth, then the overpowering explosion of flavor once the dressing manages to spread across all the recesses of the tongue and finally the dreaded pewter-like aftertaste. I am going to justify my aversion at each stage so that perhaps by the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of where I am coming from.
If taste is the issue and the initial ingestion of salad dressing is only accompanied by a slight flavor, this first stage should not be too bad, right? Wrong. Because the actual flavor is not as noticeable during stage one, there is nothing to distract me from the slimy texture of the vegetables. I should have to chew the lettuce in my salad; it should not be so soaked in fluids that it just slides right down my throat. That’s way too close to what swallowing a slug would feel like. Not that I have had any personal experience in this particular matter, I assure you.
Stage two takes place after the dressing has infected every microscopic receptor on the tongue, but instead of tasting fresh, cold, raw vegetables, I inevitably taste something fruity or sour. Vegetables are not supposed to taste like fruit! If I wanted to eat something that tasted like fruit, I would eat fruit. Why do people eat salad if they don’t actually want to taste the vegetables that comprise it?
Once the dressing has sat in our mouths for longer than 20 seconds without a steady supply of new salad being added, the dressing flavor begins to taste stale. This mildew flavor is the defining characteristic of this third and final stage. The only cure for this is water meant to wash the taste away or, regrettably, more dressing-covered salad that renews the fruity taste. It’s ironic that in order to get rid of the foul taste of old salad dressing you must continue to consume salad dressing, which will in turn become old. Is this a conspiracy to get people to keep eating salad dressing? Maybe.
Though I know many of you do not share my views on salad dressing, I felt the need to vocalize my support for those poor, unfortunate souls who get weird looks from waiters when they ask for no dressing or run out of water at restaurants because they are forcing down that drenched, leafy confection one sip of water at a time. My advice, substitute a little drizzle of olive oil for the thick, creamy dressing if just eating plain vegetables is neither possible nor appealing. Not only is olive oil healthier for you, it also has a subtle enough flavor that allows you to taste the vegetables you are consuming while not becoming bored with the simplicity of these same raw vegetables.