salad days.


I have come to realize that I may be overly fixated on the weather.

We all joke that discussing the forecast is one of our national pastimes, and I’ve noticed lately that I actually am one of those cliched Canadians whose conversational gambits often begin and end with, “Isn’t it a [insert appropriate adjective here] day?”

It’s not the worst thing to talk about, but I could do with some new subject matter.

The trouble is, I have not been keeping up well with the news lately; I know nothing about sports; and my taste in music is both un-current and probably a little pedestrian to anyone who might actually like to talk about music with me.

Of politics in my city I know shamefully little, and I am late to register my daughter for school in the fall, so I avoid that subject at all costs.

I do love to shop, but the various vintage treasures that I’ve unearthed at bargain prices may not be of interest to everyone I meet – and besides, I have declared a pre-move moratorium on acquisitions (and how that is going for me is the stuff of a whole other epic conversation).

So you can see why, at a loss for small talk, I drift back to my old reliable, the weather.

Aside from the polite innocuousness of weather-related chat, discussing the forecast also offers the opportunity to segue into my absolute favourite topic, which is, as you have no doubt realized by now, what I am going to eat next.

And today, because it is a beautiful May day, that happens to be the salad you see here.

Barley Salad
adapted from Food and Wine

I actually made this over the weekend, but it makes quite a bit and it tastes better every day.

1 1/2c pearl barley
1c roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2c olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1c packed Italian parsley leaves
1c crumbled feta

Cook barley in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Shake out excess water.

Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add barley, parsley, and feta and toss gently. Stir in chopped nuts, toss again, add some salt and pepper if desired, and serve.

Serves 4-6, depending on your desire for leftovers

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