Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Salad Hands and Mugwort Soba

The world of vegetable eaters can be divided into those who feel weird handling salad with their bare hands and those who feel even weirder tossing their greens with the plastic prostheses known as Salad Hands. Erin, my blogmate and now roommate, falls into the former camp and so was baffled--yet strangely pleased--to receive these cheerful ergonomic grips from a loving family member last Christmas. While she still sneaks her warm, pink real hands into the salad bowl before serving leafy greens, Erin has found that these cartoonish claws are perfect for tossing more slippery fare, like noodle salad.

Note how these "ergnonomic nonslip grips," as the product description calls them, fly through the salad:

On this particular night, Erin was making a salad with mugwort soba noodles, a soy-ish dressing, purple cabbage, peas, and the secret ingredient: pistachio butter. The mugwort tinted the soba slightly greenish and still remains something of a mystery to me, though I was once shown some fuzzy, dark green scraps in a ziplock bag identified as mugwort. It also reminds me of a story my friend Andy shared while musing on the ethnic labeling of certain vegetables (like Chinese broccoli).

He writes:

"I particularly resent the Japanese mugwort designation on kitazawaseed.com, given that mugwort (along with garlic) plays an important role in the creation story of Korea. The story being that a tiger and a bear wanted to become humans, and God said to them to go into a cave for 100 days and subsist only on garlic and mugwort. The tiger quits after a while and goes back into the woods, while the bear manages to make it to the end. God rewards the steadfastness of the bear by turning it into a woman and weds his son to the she-bear...and so the Korean tribe began..."

I'm not sure what this says about the health properties of mugwort (not to mention garlic) but I'm going to bet that the bear falls into the, um, bare hand salad tosser party.


Leif Hedendal said...

smoke the mugwort...

eek said...

It's true! I'm a she-bear who likes to get her paws dirty.

I felt my bewilderment at the gift of salad hands justified when I came across this article.

I'm not sure that I prefer to touch the leaves with my warm pink fingers because of a deep-seated respect for my food, as the author suggests – real hands just work better.

But: his argument is completely in line with my ongoing effort to be more pioneer-womanly. Or really, more like my grandmother: witness to the Depression and feeder of ten children from her backyard Michigan garden. She probably would've found another use for the Salad Hands... wet-hair detanglers, perhaps?

jib said...

Haha! Before I read the caption, I said to myself, "Look at those Salad Hands fly!" You guys are the best.

jib said...

Oh, also, one time in college I bought a baggie of mugwort at the sorcery store (reminiscent of Ashland piercing boutiques) and I dared myself to smoke it in a pipe. Needless to say, it ruined the pipe and made the room reek of magic.

kale daikon said...

Clearly Muggles shouldn't be messing with mugwort stunts better left to accredited graduates of Hogwarts.