Salad bars tell who we are

Have you ever done one of those online personality quizzes?

Very quickly you discover that seemingly random choices you make can tell a lot about your character.

This is evident in some actions you take as well. Social interactions that you thought were mundane are revealing intimate details about your personality.

You might want to be careful the next time you are out in public.

Let me give you an example: you go out for dinner to a place with a salad bar. It’s included with the meal, so everyone goes, right?

  • What do you put on your salad?
  • What do your companions choose?

Let’s look at the possibilities…

When you get to the bar, do you jump right in or are you the kind of person who tours the bar first to see what they have? If you like to assess your options here, you are signalling a lack of desire to be impulsive in other areas of your life too. You like to plan a strategy.

Is your salad plate based with lettuce, or do you leave room for pasta or potato salad too? Are you a conventional sort, or do you like adventure and last-minute inspiration?

Do you look for your usual favourite items? Will you try something new? (Now you can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?)

Here are some specifics for you, to give you a more complex profile of your dining companions:

  • Pineapple – since the 1700s this fruit has been a symbol in homes, when they were transported from far away lands to European shores. They still represent wealth, prosperity, hospitality.
  • Melon – the round shape of a melon made it easy for Chinese to compare it to a moon, a symbol for family unity and good fortune (the wish that your family stay round and whole, like the moon, shows a desire for prosperity)
  • Grapes – the favourite food of Bacchus, the god of wine (and parties) – not a good choice for those who want to spend a quiet night at home
  • Lemon – you might think the sour nature of this fruit denotes the same in people, but it has long been a symbol of fidelity as it offers the necessary balance needed with the many sweeter foods we consume.
  • Squash – another plump, round shape symbolizes prosperity and abundance. It’s easy to over-indulge in savoury or sweet dishes with squash, so they can be a symbol of gluttony too.
  • Artichoke – the tender heart at the core of a spiky multi-layered plant is a beautiful symbol. Hope and peace are often the terms used to convey its character, and those who enjoy it.
  • Tomato – once called the “love apple,” this veggie is a symbol of fertility with its many seeds. It was considered an aphrodisiac in medieval Europe.
  • Cucumber – another veggie full of seeds, and with a suggestive shape… well, you can guess why this is considered a sensual vegetable.
  • Eggplant – often seen as a less desirable vegetable, the eggplant is revered in Chinese culture. It does belong to the nightshade family, a group of vegetables that all have glycoalkaloids (which can cause gastrointestinal problems, and at higher levels anxiety and confusion). The sensitivity of this nightshade has given it a mystical quality in some circles.
  • Pepper – another nightshade vegetable, this one can refer to a desire for excitement in one’s life when it’s the spicy variety. The sweeter green ones still signify a sense of adventure, due to their slightly bitter nature. (Only those willing to sacrifice a bit of sweetness for the sake of a bigger experience will lean this way.)

One further note: olive branches have been a symbol of peace since Biblical times, and olive oil has been used for precious tasks through history.

Your choice of that simple vinaigrette could put you over the top as a sensitive loving individual, instead of being a run-of-the-mill Ranch dressing lover.

Just think, if you’re with a new friend or out on a first date you can let them go first and learn all about them without having to say a word.

If you’re a parent or role model, remember your responsibility; your attitude is setting an example for any young salad-eaters. Just putting a few olives or an artichoke heart on your plate could change their eating habits.

The other component of any buffet eating is choosing your portion. As with any other activity, being responsible is important.

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed and end up with more than we can handle. If you are at an all-you-can-eat place, it’s more graceful to return for a second serving than stagger off with an overloaded plate that doesn’t get finished.

I remind myself to treat my plate like a piece of art – when I’m done my plate should show all the components with style, not be a test of how much I can pile on.

One just never knows when a simple decision can shape the course of one’s destiny. All our actions are open to interpretation by those around us, so I cannot take responsibility for how others will read your behaviour.

But at least now you know your potential.

Bon Appetit!

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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