Words to live by if I may say so myself. Breaking things down to their tiniest component bits and recombining them in odd and unexpected ways is as Universarian as apple pie. “Three quarks make a muster mark.” In Finnegan’s Wake, Joyce said that to no one in particular and though no one but his intended reader, if that person exists at all, understood what he was getting at, we are forced to ponder this oddest of footnote’s meaning because it led to the naming of subatomic particles. The average human body has 1.34×10^29 quarks. I am admittedly running a little high right now at 1.58×10^29 quarks but I’ve started swimming regularly. The quarks are coming off by the billions. You can really feel the difference. The ladies notice it too.
It’s not all swimming of course. Salad helps. My favorite salad of late is a recipe that I ate regularly as a child, forgot about, and blessed the soil and rain and heavens when It came back to me. I was broiling flank steak after a soy sauce marinade and sauteing mushrooms with Worstershire sauce, paprika, butter, and herbs. That was my mom’s need-a-hot-buffet-for-a-crowd-that-might-wait-around-until-it-gets-cold-so-it-has-to-be-able-to-sit-out-for-a-while catch all menu. Was it a crowd pleaser? Their every fourth year election party spread fed guests until even the most partisan realized this whole Bush vs. Gore thing might not get settled for a few days. That was also the last time the invites said “7 until”. She always included this salad, and I would have cursed myself for forgetting it had not the intervening days without it, spanning from last taste to recent remembrance, served as just penance.
De-seed and chop two tomatoes finely as you would the components of a mirepoix. Do the same with equal parts of celery and cucumber. At this point I am naming this the “Muster Mark Salad” because of the three parts. Come and let us collude together as we decide not to count any ingredient beyond those three. Add crumbled feta to taste and a vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, enough to coat. This gets better if you let it sit for a day in the fridge.
We have a variation called “That Salad but with lady peas instead of cucumber.” I’ve been busy lately, but if things calm down I’ll be sure and post that recipe asap. As a final note, quarks are so very flavorful.