*Image via Haris Kenjar.
Mr. Magpie and I have a secret “dish” that we probably eat once a week called “Trash Salad.” We would never serve this “dish” to guests, and it feels strange to even share it here. But whenever we’re short a side, or the vegetable dish Mr. Magpie had been planning to prepare alongside our main runs away from him (this happened a few days ago when the cabbage dish he’d been slaving over would not have been ready in time for our BBQ chicken supper), we assemble it. Trash Salad consists of four ingredients we nearly always have on hand: carrot, cucumber, raw white onion, and bottled Garlic Expressions dressing. (The dressing is critical — do not sub.) It is as underwhelming as salads come and scarcely qualifies for the moniker of “dish” (hence the use of quotations) but, curiously, we find it addictive and roundly complimentary to a wide range of cuisines, especially BBQ, where the smoke and crackle of the chicken is deliciously offset by the tang and crunch of our salad. But we eat it with everything — a pasta dish that is meat-heavy and calls for something light alongside, a platter of fried chicken, rice and kofteh. My husband will request it as a mid-afternoon snack when peckish, and I could frankly eat it for breakfast — but then again, I’m a vinegar-head, and can nearly drink the stuff on its own. It occurred to us the other day that “Trash Salad” is, essentially, the most rudimentary of quick/light pickling. Somehow, the onion, bathed in that dressing, softens and mellows a bit, and the carrots and cucumbers still shine brightly through. I know I am making too much of this salad, and some of you will go home and prepare it and then stare quizzically at your bowls, thinking: “And this is…what? Come on, Magpies, I expected better!”
But it is a long-standing part of our at-home dining repertoire. The kind of food you fall into by force of habit. The category of “dish” that comforts by virtue of its familiarity and ease-of-preparation. The sort of thing you can make even when all of your belongings are packed up and you are eating a final meal in an empty apartment on a makeshift cardboard box table. It’s the kind of salad that’s there when nothing else is.
I know you must have these ad hoc dishes secreted away in your own homes, in the annals of your own family history.
What are they? I’m curious — what do you eat when your fridge is bare?
+We made these delicious cocktails over the weekend. Cannot recommend enough.
+Mr. Magpie’s passion for food endears me to him all the time.
+Ranch crackers — another addictive and unfancy dish I love.
+This Toteme-esque shawl collar sweater is in my cart (and under $75).
+Teamson play kitchens are 30% off here — order now for the holidays! We have one and the children love it — plus, super cute!
+OMG – several fabulous / slightly unhinged / Margot-Tenebaum-meets-grocery-store-grandma coats from Shrimps are on sale at Outnet: love this and this and this. Cannot endorse the purchase of a loud novelty coat more. I know it sounds so frivolous but it can TOTALLY make an outfit out of the LBD you’ve had in your closet for ages and worn a million times.
+Speaking of, I will be wearing this FABULOUS ice blue sherpa topper all winter long — THE BOWS! AHHH!
+OK, J. Crew — you are slaying this season! Love this little feathered handbag!
+A GREAT oversized waffle sweater at an amazing price.
+I just ordered these fancy-looking French u-shaped hair clips. I have no idea how to use them so will need to spend some time on YT but they look so chic!
+Cutest little embellished cardi.
+These sequin pants are beyond, and currently $30 off with code NOVSAVE.
+Surprise your husband by organizing his tangle of belts with these.
+SUCH a fun sequin mini.
+Fun earrings — perfect for a Thanksgiving palette.