When I was a kid, I can remember my mother yelling at us to, “Stop playing with your food and eat it. There are children starving in China” I never did understand the connection but took it to be some dire form of warning. Since I was always hungry as a child there was little chance that I would skip many meals so it really didn’t apply to me. In my teenage years when my dad was working two jobs, Mom started to cook things that she liked and could afford instead of meat and potatoes. I remember my initial rejection of cottage cheese, pea soup and anything with beets and my brothers and sister hated kidneys.
My Mother stopped warning us about children starving in China when someone told her to pack it up and send it to China because they would rather starve than eat what was being served. Now I started to like cottage cheese because it was one of the few things I could snack on when I went on the first Stillman diet 40 years ago. As I said before, I started to like beats when Tracey and I developed a pleasant recipe for a very good Borscht.
I don’t really love beets enough to eat them by choice aside from Borscht, but decided to play with my food. I think my pretty salad the other night inspired me to think of other ways to make attractive salads and the green white and read jumped at me because these are the same colors that appear in the Italian flag and it is fairly easy to concieve of a salad sculpted to look like an Italian flag using only foods that an Italian might eat on a regular basis.
Than I began to wonder how many other salads could be made to look like the flag of a nation using the traditional foods of that country. Immediately two others came to mid and as a tribute to my mother, I made my first Flag Salad a Polish Flag.
White Cottage Cheese
I chopped some whitish celery hearts and half a small onion and mixed with with one cup cottage cheese. For those who don’t know cottage cheese or pot cheese is indigenous to central Europe where it was developed and I also have a recipe for Polish Noodles and Cottage Chees which I could have also used as the white top part of the flag.
Pickled beets Recipe
1 can of sliced beets well drained
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup white cider vinegar
1 small onion sliced into rings (not used in this salad added for flavor)
The Polish Flag Salad Platter
I used a base or Romain cut into a 2 to 1 rectangle and placed my cottage cheese salad at the top and then placed the red beets for color on the bottom.
I am sure if I were either more patient or a better photographer, you would have noticed an even more stunning resemblance to the Polish Flag. The cottage cheese and pickled beets was a nice combination.
I called my friend Tracey and we talked about the concept. Tracey thinks out of the box so came up with different colored foods to expand my potential easy designs to more than six so I can keep playing with my food. Sorry Mom, your son is playing with his food and the Chinese are prospering. It’s a whole new world order.
Anybody that wants to can join the fun. Send me a link to your best flag. I have half a dozen more to go in the next few weeks so I will keep having fun playing with my food.