Curious Cook: Bowl Game

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Making high quality community journalism isn’t free — please consider supporting our journalism by subscribing to the News + Record today.

Unlimited Digital Access begins at $4.67/month

Print + Digital begins at $6.58/month


When I took the job at the car dealership, there was one thing I didn’t think of, and one thing I didn’t know.

In February, when I accepted this new position, I was thinking about dressing in layers, making sure I always had a pair of gloves on me, and cranking up the heated seat in my car. (Nothing like a warm tush on a cold night.)

There wasn’t even the faintest whisper in my brain about hauling my carcass into the back lot to retrieve a car for a customer in 95 degree heat and 75% humidity. A black top lot with no shade. And then climbing into a car that’s been sitting on the molten lot for possibly weeks.

The other day I climbed into a car with black leather upholstery in a linen skirt — a summer weight linen skirt. That day I learned that when trying to keep one’s blistering hind parts from touching a sizzling leather seat it’s pretty tough to apply pressure to the gas pedal.

Today I got into an unfamiliar car with a readout of the outside temperature. But when I looked at it and it said 109, I seriously thought it was an FM radio station for a minute. Then, when I realized what it was, I almost cried…but I was too dehydrated for tears because I had sweated all the moisture from my body.

So, when I get home from a day that like that, after I hose off, I am not in the mood for 1) cooking a heavy, hot dinner, and 2) eating a rich, hot dinner.

Before I began working, I pretty much knew the progression of each day. I’d rise and if it was my day, I’d take our dog, Crowley for a very long walk (like, two or three miles long). If I had the evening shift, we’d take an evening walk of two to three miles.

Ten years ago, I weighed 193 pounds. I figured out an eating plan that would help me lose weight and that I could eat for the rest of my life so I wouldn’t gain back the 70 pounds I’d lost. I’d yo-yoed my whole life and was done with that lose-gain-lose-gain cycle.

So I know how much food and how much exercise in a day I need for weight maintenance.

Then I started selling cars.

And every day is different.

Some days I spend all day inside, behind a desk and on the phone and computer. Some days I get to work, put down my things, sit down to clock in and never sit down again for eight, 10, or 12 hours. Some days I leave early. Some days I come in early and stay late for an appointment or to shepherd a customer through the process of buying a car.

A seller of cars, very much like a seller of real estate, works at the customers’ convenience or is quite unsuccessful. It’s an extremely client-driven business.

After a long day of hard work, sometimes physical, sometimes mental, sometimes both, I don’t have the gas to take Mr. Crowley Pants for a long walk. Basically, I come home, shower, eat something and collapse until it’s time for bed.

And with such an uncertain schedule, it’s very difficult to judge diet. Lately, I’ve picked up an extra pound or two, so I’m keen on finding a way to eat that takes into account this new, varying schedule of mine.

The answer to both the heat-induced aversion for heavy, hot food and a schedule-induced need to find a new way to eat can be found in one large bowl — a dinner salad bowl.

This salad recipe has been in development for years. It started from a salad place in the mall. It was called the “Happy Wife” and had greens, dried fruit, nuts and crumbled blue cheese. I liked the combination, but the choices of each ingredient weren’t my favorites.

And if I’m making something for me, I make it to my taste.

So the greens are a 50-50 combo of mixed greens and baby spinach. The cheese is Farmer’s Cheese from Chapel Hill Creamery — one of the greatest cheeses that ever came from a lactating animal. The nuts are butter toasted salted pecans, and the fruit is pineapple and dried cherries.

The dressing is a simple oil/vinegar, but neither the oil nor the vinegar is simple. The onions are red and so thin as to be almost shaved. The chicken is white meat and the newest addition is crunchy beets — slivered shards of beets, crispy like well-cooked bacon.

Hope you like it.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at

The answer to both the heat-induced aversion for heavy, hot food and a schedule-induced need to find a new way to eat can be found in one large bowl — a dinner salad bowl.

Happy Wife 2.0

5 cups of loosely packed mixed greens

1/4 cup of thinly sliced red onions

1/2 cup butter-toasted, salted pecans and dried pineapple and cherries

1/3 cup 1/2-inch cubes of Chapel Hill Creamery Farmer’s cheese

1/2 cup white meat chicken cut into bite-size pieces

handful of crispy beets

1 tablespoon pistachio oil

1 tablespoon Nona’s balsamic glaze

Place all the ingredients except the oil and balsamic into a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss (clean hands work the best). Eat immediately with a piece of crusty bread and butter.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here