My mother has set potatoes to bake in the range and is stripping the last cold meat off yesterdays roast, “can I help” i ask her, “you can make a salad” she suggests, so i gather ingredients from the fridge, I cut a deep star into the top of the fuchsia pink radishes and drop them into a glass of water, they swell and slowly open like flowers, i cut across the tomatoes, zig, i push the knife in at an angle, zag I push it in at the opposite angle, zig, zag, zig, zag, until the tomato falls into two star shaped halves, like a red water lily. I take two boiled eggs and cut a small slice from the bottom so that they can stand on end, i cut another tomato in half, straight cut this time and scoop out some of the seeds, I balance the half tomato on top of the up ended egg like a toadstool and chopping the tiny slice from the end of the egg into little white chips i sprinkle it over the tomato toadstool, It now looks just like the fly agaric that grow down by the river.
“you're taking your time with that salad” my mother calls, “ nearly ready” I call. I shred lettuce, grass fine, and sprinkle it over the big plate, adding my toadstools, lilies and radish flowers and some cucumber lily pads I proudly present my mother with my edible garden. she admired it with some surprise and a little frustration at how long I had taken to make the salad, but after that often when I seemed bored, she would suggest, “why don't you make a salad for tonight's tea”
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