The salad days are now

The expression that’s playing around my head today is that lovely turn of phrase “the salad days.”

Shakespeare wrote these words in 1606, in his play Antony and Cleopatra. A mature Cleopatra is thinking back to the days of her immature romance with none other than Julius Caesar, when this exquisite turn of phrase springs from her lips:”…My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood…” What I love is that almost scientific line-up of descriptors—”salad,” “green” and “cold”— that conjure up with perfect linguistic freshness and unflinching observation the essence of youth. (Cold? Who would have thought? And yet it’s true.) In fact, Wikipedia goes on to tell us, “The phrase became popular only from the middle of the 19th century, coming to mean ‘a period of youthful inexperience or indiscretion’.”

Once the salad days are past, we are tempted to do everything we can, if not to regain them, to at least recapture their green, cold, crisp vitality. Perhaps one of the best ways—and it is now the season—is to eat that which we wish to be. I recently spotted these leafy wonders at my neighborhood fresh fruit and veg vendor, and was amazed by the variety of shape and color. This is not an exhaustive collection of what I saw—there was more—but perhaps it’s enough to inspire some youthful, frolicsome foraging.


Varieties of radicchio, insalata romana, soncino, catalogna, erbette and cicoria—not in that order.

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9 Responses to The salad days are now

  1. ron says:

    LOVE the images and, as usually happens with things that Nature makes, i’m amazed by the variety, personality, boldness, and sensual vividity. hoo-boy, that’s some yummy visual crunchy freshness! thank you! (and i could eat salads every night for dinner, specially in the summer.)

    • Me too! It doesn’t suit me so well in cold weather, but right now, I seem to be eating a lot of them and tossing all kinds of stuff into them. That makes them especially good.

  2. Thanks for these. The variety of design and color is amazing!

    • Yes, in fact…lots of red and pink and purples…unexpected colors…and greens that verge toward white or yellow or sort of bright neony, acidy green. It is amazing.

  3. Mary says:

    Gorgeous! Not all of those are available here but I could recall the texture and taste of each one from my days in France. Thanks so much!

    • Mary, tell me. How was re-entry into the States. Have you melded back in seamlessly? Do you miss Europe? I often imagine what it would be like…

      • I should say, I TRY to imagine what it would be like. In real life, I think it would be quite different from my expectations. It wouldn’t be as easy as I think it would, I expect…

  4. Teresa Elliott says:

    Char, what is that gorgeous yellow-flecked-with-red bunch that looks like a tulip en dishabille (as the French say)?

  5. dayphoto says:

    Oh, so lovely! We have a few of those here, but not all. Thank you for sharing!


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