Hetty McKinnon and I haven’t met yet but we’ve bonded, whether she knows it or not. We’re salad sisters, united in the belief that salad is so much more than lettuce. Salad is an opportunity to give each season’s fresh vegetables and fruits the love they deserve, to enhance them with a defining hint of acidity from a squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar, gild them with a drizzle of tahini or olive oil, toss them with cooked beans and grains for a satisfying chew, sprinkle in a smack of spice, add a confetti of fresh tarragon, cilantro, mint or whatever herb is in your garden and maybe some avocado, nuts or olives — healthy fats with a lux mouthfeel. Okay, we’re a little passionate about salads. It’s not a bad thing.
Hetty and I also share a passion for the way a meal offers the chance to bring different people together and create community I do it through EatWith dinners, on the page in my columns and in my posts and in my book Feeding the Hungry Ghost. Hetty does it with Arthur Street Kitchen and her wonderful cookbooks Neighborhood and Community, which help demystify the whole kitchen experience and coax you in there with recipes of dishes you really want to eat. She also does it as publisher and editor of Peddler her journal devoted to “the in-between moments of food,” cold watermelon and soggy, sandy sandwiches at the beach, mystery casseroles at potluck dinners, standing around the backyard grill, wreathed in smoke, getting batter-splashed making Sunday morning pancakes with your kids, watching my dad eat the plum cake I made for him for Father’s Day. They’re all part of the quiet but profound role food has in shaping our sense of community, family and self. They’re what binds us to each other.
I’m so proud to feature Hetty in My Favorite People, My Favorite Recipes. I have a feeling she’ll become your salad sister, too.