We were five minutes away from our Huntsville Airbnb when my right front tire separated into two. It took three hours to get off Highway 11 on that cold February night. But if you ask me what I remember most from that wintry getaway, it’s not the roadside inconvenience but the smoked salmon salad at Huntsville On the Main. I liked it so much, I ordered it a second time before leaving town.
There are a myriad of ways I can frame the past year. I have two old versions of this blog post to show for it. But when I woke up this morning at 6 a.m., I decided that there’s no better way to describe my 2022 than to frame it using the salads that changed my life.
That Huntsville salad came highly recommended from the Airbnb host. I had received it with a smile but internally knew it was unlikely I’d ever order such a thing. But what has changed since the first time I wrote a year-end review in 2015, is that I now know that sometimes I’m too stubborn for my own good.
My stubbornness was once again proven to be futile, or at the very least, stupid, when the Famoso salad at the Jasper Famoso Pizzeria caught my eye. For years I’ve touted that I don’t like chicken–unless it’s fried–which, while I wasn’t lying, was such a strange opinion to hold so closely. And I’m here to say that the grilled chicken at Famoso was not only an amazing addition to the salad but has successfully changed my diet forever.
By the end of April, I was in a full-blown identity crisis. If I’m no longer someone who hates salads and grilled chicken, then who am I? The small traits that felt so instrumental in my identity were falling away piece by piece. I used to laugh at the thought of spring mix and now I grow it on my balcony. I used to scoff at a long flight but now I hate the thought of flying for longer than two hours. I used to think golf was strictly for middle-aged white dads and businessmen and now I have my own bag and set of clubs I bought on roadside yard sale enroute to Goderich.
It took no time at all for me to become virtually unrecognizable. I once had leftover salad for breakfast (poppyseed dressing!!!) and enjoyed it. I dream of bringing my clubs to play on an oceanside golf course. As much as I look forward to my travels, I also look forward to adding new ornaments to my Christmas tree.
Life is wild. You spend your whole adolescence thinking you’ll work in health care only to end up a writer. You spend years in your twenties making travelling your entire personality, only to fall in love with being at home. And sometimes, you spend your whole life rejecting the thought of eating raw vegetables, only to become the kind of person who gets excited about the next great salad.
It’s now close to 9 a.m. I’ve spent a long time rewriting this conclusion, even going back to my old blogs for material, to try and finesse it into something impactful. But maybe I’ll close the year with one final change. Unlike usual, I’m just going to leave it at this with no big thoughts or grand ending. Because I don’t know what deeper meaning this all adds to and sometimes that’s just how it’ll have to be. We’re just here for the vibes, y’all.
So here’s to 2023, where yet another version of myself awaits. Maybe this year, I’ll learn to like celery. After all, I already did the impossible with kale.
P.S. I know what you are thinking and no, I don’t have a single photo of any of the salads mentioned above.