For the "friend" segment of my brother's birthday celebration (vs. the "family" segment), peeps traveled from all corners of the city to Prospect Park in Brooklyn for a blow-out picnic salad-off. (Yes, my brother has surely changed his ways; once upon a time this would have been a wing-off instead.) It was a windy day, as you can see from the angle of the balloons above, but the sun was shining brightly and everyone was in high spirits. In addition to all the picnic supplies, my brother had brought four different types of salad he'd made, and I'd provided a hoard of carbohydrates: whole wheat flatbread, puffy white pita bread, a crusty garlic loaf; and a crusty plain white loaf. We were ready to SALAD.
People arrived on bike and foot, bearing their creations. Our posse was doubled by the addition of a renegade group of salad-crashers headed by BH, who had come with their own food but who were nonetheless enamored by the array of dressed veggies glistening in wooden bowls on the blanket.
I couldn't keep track of all of them, but here are a few up close (clockwise from top left): crunchy fruit and vegetable salad (recipe here); tuna salad; cauliflower, zucchini, orange, and basil salad; feta, grape tomato, cucumber, and red onion salad.
Ready for self-service.
Yes, this was a salad-off, with winners (and losers) to be determined at the end. But then again, there was also a beautiful birthday cake. Chewy-crisp chocolate chip cookies. A moist chocolate cake. And delicious homemade smoked salmon. I'd say these were decidedly non-salad entrants, but no one, no one is complaining here.
We spent the day eating, making new friends, playing sports, and even shucking oysters. We sampled the different creations people had whipped up and submitted the names of our top three favorites.
Dogs like salad, too.
As the sun became obscured by clouds and the wind began gusting, people started pulling on sweatshirts and huddling in closer and closer to one another. It was only a matter of time before we would have to surrender to the cold and pack up. And so it was decided: time to call voting to a close. Salad-off, tally ho!
Up next: The winners, and their recipes