The Pun Also Rises: Salad days


As everyone knows, the two main ways to get healthier are to exercise and to eat better. Unfortunately, with more snow falling every three days, getting outside for a walk has become slippery and dangerous, like an oil-soaked chainsaw. That's why I decided that this month I would attempt to eat more vegetables. Conveniently, if you haven't eaten any vegetables, eating even a single one still counts as "more."

When it comes to vegetables, many of them are served only after a complex preparation process known as "cooking," making them less useful for a midnight snack I'm making for myself. Cooking is not usually my jurisdiction, in my house. (I know it's a bit cliched, but my girlfriend tends to deal with all the womanly work like cooking and fixing computers, while I handle manly tasks like washing dishes and doing laundry.)

Thankfully, salad is a vegetable that requires no such complex preparation, you just throw things in a bowl and then eat it, which is pretty much ideal for me. So, lettuce examine the nature of salad, which I will spend the remainder of this column a dressing. Specifically, a salad dressing.

One of the things that surprised me about the salad dressing in my fridge is that the first ingredient was corn syrup. Which is crazy, because when you're making cake, the first ingredient is flour. In other words, if I were to put a slice of chocolate cake on top of my salad, it would still be healthier than the creamy poppyseed dressing in my fridge. This is why you see so many advertisements featuring women laughing while eating a salad. They are actually thinking, "They thought I was denying myself, but I just wanted salad instead of cake because the dressing is much sweeter than cake!"

Not that I would want to put a chocolate cake on my salad anyway. Generally one adds some other vegetables, like tomatoes and onions, and some cheese. I like to fancy up my salads with a few croutons, and then some protein, maybe some shredded meat like pepperoni. I did all of this (except the onions) for my midnight snack last night when I suddenly realized something: I basically had assembled an entire pizza on top of the lettuce. Bread, tomatoes, cheese, even pepperoni. If I just turned my salad upside down, it would be a lettuce pizza.

I'm not sure why salad is supposed to be healthy in the first place. Lettuce is mostly water, which isn't particularly healthy. This makes sense because as a human, I'm also mostly water, and also not particularly healthy. Now I'm not saying that eating a salad is tantamount to cannibalism, but I'm also not saying it isn't.

And lettuce isn't even the only kind of salad. It's just default salad. You can also have tuna salad, or pasta salad, or bean salad, or potato salad, or jello salad, or (for Muppets fans) Waldorf salad, or asphalt salad (usually served with gravelax), or word salad (as my detractors will inevitably describe this column).

Salad just means stuff thrown together. Sometimes people focus on the throwing, calling it a tossed salad. But even when you are throwing ingredients, people will demand that your french tuna salad be made quietly, and you must respond, "I see." That's because a nicoise salad without "i c" is just noise, and people will start crusading against you for making a salad din.

At times like that, there's only one sensible thing to do: Cut yourself a slice of healthy salad dressing alternative.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor columnist, author of "From God To Verse," and strong to the finish 'cause he eats his spinach. His website is


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