Favorite Things: Gien, and platters for salads. Make it new.

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It’s like when you eat dessert (pudding? Yes, pudding. Chocolate.) from a jar. Or drink wine from a juice glass.

The pudding, the wine—it’s not the same, depending on its vessel. Some of us will agree on that point and others, not so much, but good friends don’t have to agree to love each other just the same, right?!

Lebanese salads presented on a platter is my new favorite way to make the salads new. I have nothing against salad bowls, especially the big huge wooden ones that gain flavor and patina over time. But pull out a platter for a salad and see how it adds a little flair, a little something something.

There are times, no doubt, when a salad is good and juicy; then that platter best have some curvature to preserve the salad nectar that at our house is cause for dipping wars, with spoon or pita, when the salad is finished.

I’m finding I use my cake platters more for serving salads than I do cakes. That’s a pat on my own back, by the way, since I’d put a cake there every day if I wasn’t trying to turn over a leaf (albeit a small leaf) on my sugar consumption.

I find the platters unexpected, especially for salad greens or tabbouleh. They make me see and taste the salad a little more clearly. After a while, when the platters get old for me, I’ll go back to bowls (or jars, or juice glasses) and taste and see it all new again.

I love to serve salad on the beautiful white-on-white French platters we gave my mother for her birthday, Evol Blanc by Gien. The company has a 200-year history in Gien, France, where English china known as “faience” was introduced there by an English artisan and businessman. Gien patterns are out-of-this-world beautiful, and they specialize as well in bespoke, or monogrammed, patterns. The Evol Blanc pattern is so clean and elegant, I feel like its graceful lines were gleaned right from banks of the Loire River where it is made. It’s not found that readily, which is kind of nice, but you can buy it here. Or, we can go directly to France….

This week we’re making a big, lemony Lebanese recipe for tabbouleh salad, but like the platter it’s served on, we’re making it deliciously new, and many of you will be happy to hear, gluten free. Stay tuned!

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  1. Maureen, that is a good idea, substituting a platter for a bowl. Thanks for the suggestion.