(Rescuing old essays from my old blog, more or less randomly.)
Here and now today I give you the Platonic ideal of a salad, the Salad in its pure, most appealing, most aromatic form, the Tricks and Manners "Alone in the House with the Bleu Cheese" Salad. I may not have actually invented it, but I did painstakingly adapt it--craft it--from all the most glorious salads around.
Pilgrim, remember this on your journey to Sublime Saladom: No Bacon. You can bacon your other salads, (yum, the soft crumbly real kind, not orthodontia-shattering baco-blivets) but not this salad. For cheese, no Asiago, no cheddar, no white mozzarella, no American, no monterey jack. Stay with me, hold fast, today you do not want those cheeses.
Follow these procedures minutely and precisely and with utter devotion. Get your 2-quart mixing bowl down out of the cupboard because a salad bowl is not going to be big enough and a soup bowl is not going to be big enough and even your 1.5 quart mixing bowl is not going to be big enough. Do not cramp the salad.
This is what you put in the bowl, in no particular order, and in no particular quantity--have all you want. Have a lot. A lot. You will not want this salad to end.
Walnuts, chopped. (Usually I like pecans best, but considering what's coming walnuts hold up their end of the flavor spectrum best.)
Dried cranberries or dried cherries, depending on how much hair you have on your chest. Or want to have.
Croutons, garlic-flavored. If you don't care so much for garlic flavor I would never insist, but really, dear friend, garlic is good for you and good for the croutons and good for the salad.
Chicken breast, sliced. Ah! What makes this do-able is that we can now buy it from the grocery store all cooked and sliced and packaged and ready to pop into the T&M salad. "John Soules Foods" makes the kind I buy; it's near the lunch meat section.
*Bleu cheese*..... Ah, so pure, wonderful, delicately veined, palate-tingling, nectar of the gods, heady, steady, ready Freddy bleu cheese. It's what you want. It's what you need. You are alone in the house with the bleu cheese. Make it happen, baby.
Dressing: Happy dollups of Creamy Poppyseed. The best I've found is Kraft Creamy Poppyseed dressing.
If you've come this far, lettuce is freakin' optional.
But let's say you put some in. Tear it up nice and skinny so it stays on the fork. Toss it all together, make sure the poppyseed dressing gets all over everything.
To drink, ice water is recommended. Good heavens, don't put any lemon in it, do you want to explode?
Lock the doors.