Eat Fresh with Style

Book Review: The Modern Salad, Innovative New American and International Recipes Inspired by Burma's Iconic Tea Leaf Salad

Author: Elizabeth Howes

My mom made Jello salad. She loved those little molds and made every recipe in the Jello pamphlet. When I had dinner at my girlfriend’s house, her family served salad with most every evening meal… lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green onions, and? I remember it as fresh and crunchy and, well, different from what I was used to. I kept thinking about those salads while browsing through The Modern Salad, Innovative New American and International Recipes Inspired by Burma’s Iconic Tea Leaf Salad written by Elizabeth Howes. This is a beautiful book filled with story and excellent photography presented on quality stock pages. I’m sure it will make a perfect gift for those who lean toward and practice healthy eating with style and fresh ingredients.

Digging in, we experience the story of The Burmese Tea Leaf Salad, it’s origin and history with recipes and a full-page photo—so lovely. What follows are groupings of salads that will appeal specifically to the Vegetarian; or to those who favor Noddles, Grains, and Legumes; Fish and Shellfish; Chicken, Turkey and Duck; and then Pork and Beef. These salads involve pre-planning, not just in acquiring the fresh produce, but you’ll also need the specific pantry and some specialty items like Sticky Rice Powder and Crunchy Roasted Split Mug Dal. Don’t worry, Ms. Howes provides directions on how to make these special salad accouterments. Thus, this isn’t a beginner’s cookbook—it’s more for those who are comfortable with the basics and now want to learn new ways of combining ingredients for flavorful impact.

The salads of my childhood were definitely side-dishes, but Howes’ salads are worthy of center-stage—truly worth the time of preparation. Ms. Howes quotes M.F.K. Fisher from The Art of Eating:

I believe that one of the most dignified ways we are capable of, to assert and then reassert our dignity in the face of poverty and war’s fears and pains, is to nourish ourselves with all possible skill, delicacy, and ever-increasing enjoyment. And with our gastronomical growth will come, inevitably, knowledge and perception of a hundred other things, but mainly ourselves. Then Fate, even tangled as it is with cold wars and as well at hot, cannot harm us.

I predict The Modern Salad is a pathway to such dignity thanks to Elizabeth Howes sharing her thoughts and skill in creating recipes that inspire our better chef-selves to delight our own and the pallets of all who share our table.

~~~~~

I invite you to try the

Burmese Tea Leaf Salad recipe and wine pairing

offered in our partner-review posted by Linda Kissam at FoodTravelWineChix.com. Enjoy!

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