Lettuce and onions

Lettuce and onions | The Lush's Blush blog
Lettuce and onions, also known as a wilted salad.

If I say “lettuce and onions” that likely means the start of a salad, or maybe toppings for a burger to most people. Where I’m from in Yadkin County, NC, it means something a little bit different. This time of year, in the early spring, lettuce and onions is a special treat.

When that early lovely light green lettuce and spring onions come in the garden, Yadkin County folks pick them and serve them sprinkled with a little salt and pepper, vinegar and piping hot oil poured on top. It seems like such a simple thing, but there is something about this dish that just tastes like springtime and it is so delicious. Some folks choose to use bacon grease to create this wilted salad.

I did a quick survey of some friends near and far and sure enough, those from outside the Yadkin County area just thought lettuce and onions are burger toppings. My Yadkin County friends were quick to answer though on how to prepare lettuce and onions as described above.

We typically serve lettuce and onions with pinto beans and cornbread. I remember my Mamma making this when I was little. It was always one of her very favorite meals. She’d always shoo me out of the kitchen when she was heating up the oil in the cast iron skillet. She didn’t want me anywhere near the hot oil though she wasn’t afraid of it herself. I think maybe that’s when I really felt like a true adult myself, is the first time I made lettuce and onions my own self. There is something so satisfying about the sound of that hot oil as it sizzles on the lettuce.

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How does your garden grow?

I started gardening a few years ago and I love it. One of my favorite things to grow are herbs. I love to use them in my cooking.

Something as simple as adding fresh mint to my iced tea in the summer makes all the hard work of gardening worth while.

This year I have mint, rosemary, regular oregano and hot and spicy oregano, thyme and lemon thyme, basil, parsley and dill.

Once my cucumbers come in I’ll be canning dill pickles using my fresh dill! I can’t wait.

In the future I hope to grow many other types of herbs, including some which more magical properties.

The foods of summer

To me, each season has its own type of food that makes it special. I think that summer foods are, by far, my favorite. I love a bowl of warm soup on a cold winter night, but the foods of summer are what I long for. Best of all are fresh foods straight from the garden. Living in a rural county I am lucky enough to be in a place rich in agriculture and farming heritage.
When my mom first put me in daycare in a nearby town at age 3 or 4, they had quite a time getting me to eat their food. I had never before had green beans that came from a commercial cannery. Oh no, I was used to the succulent beans that had been hand-picked and canned with great love by my grandmother and mother. To this day I don’t buy canned green beans from the store.
I have been lucky, all my life, to enjoy the most delectable fresh produce that my Uncle Tom and Uncle

Clip grew. Uncle Clip used to grow radishes just for me, because he knew how much I liked them. Uncle Tom would bring me the biggest, prettiest, pinkest German Johnson tomatoes you ever saw. One summer after traveling for a few days with my parents, I came home to find my bed full of the biggest tomatoes I ever saw. Uncle Tom had put them there as a surprise for me. I think they tasted like magic.

On Saturday mornings, Daddy would make homemade biscuits while Mamma fried up bacon or country ham. We’d slather a biscuit with butter and put a thick slice of German Johnson tomato on there. There’s really no other taste that can compare to a fresh homegrown tomato.
A few years ago I started my own little garden and have followed in the footsteps of my Mamma and Granny Jo in doing a little canning. I’m proud of my little garden, and the food that comes out, it just tastes so special to me. It tastes like summer.
If you don’t have a garden of your own or beloved uncles to shower you with fresh produce, I suggest checking out a local farmer’s market.
My tomatoes are coming along, but no fresh tomatoes yet, so I keep dreaming and enjoying other foods that taste like summer.
On Memorial Day, we had a few friends over for a little cookout and I made a corn and bean salsa that I think came across with great summer flavor. We roasted the corn on the cob on the grill for just a bit and then cut it off the cob. Into the salsa went a can of drained black beans, a can of Rotel (tomatoes and peppers) and olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. It’s a simple recipe you can whip up in a pinch. Using canned corned works just as well if you don’t have fresh. We served ours with chips and also ate some as a topping for our burgers.