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Guest Writer



By Aisha Mansour


Growing up with a Palestinian mother (Yama as I called her) there was always salad pon the menu.  Salad with meat and rice entrees.   Salad with stew.   Salad with your falafel sandwich.   Salad was salad.   Salata as my mom called it in Arabic.   Salata simply was a concoction of finely chopped tomato and cucumber, with a dash of salt and a couple of squirts of lemon juice.   The acidity of this simple salad justified the rich lamb, rice, and potatoes we devoured some evenings.   On the other hand, the sharp flavor of this simple salata escalated the flavors of vegetarian peasant food that my mother made all too frequently.   As such, salata was eaten at every meal; not before the meal as in the United States, nor after the meal as in some European countries, but rather with the meal to balance the flavors creating an exciting yet humble clique.   

An adult now attempting a lifestyle within a modest budget, I've conformed to the humble vegetarian meals once cooked by my frugal mother.   Mjadara , or lentils and rice, has become the weekly dish, I consume at least twice a week.   With such a modest meal plan, I've come to rely on the salata to satiate my appetite and thrust my salivary glands to complete bliss.   Yet, the same salata as Yama made would eventually bore my taste buds.   And so, like most American culinary artists, I've transformed an ancient tradition to satisfy the capricious whims of my native tongue.


New Wave Salata

2 medium tomatoes

1 large nectarine

1/4 lemon

1/4 tsp. Salt

2 tbls. Canola Oil

1 oz. Crumbled Feta Cheese


Chop the tomatoes and nectarine. Ferociously (it's been a long day, eh?) squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit.   Yes, tomatoes are fruit.   Biology 101.   Sprinkle the salt and drizzle the oil, of course, over the fruit.   Top salad with feta cheese.   And mix, mix some more; toss if you're brave.   And finally, EAT.   Eat plain, eat with crusty bread, or eat with vegetarian rice dish.   Just EAT.   And enjoy.