Cobb Salad and a Fresh Start

Cobb Salad

Some girls visit the long-avoided inner aisles of the grocery store then return home laden with their best friends Ben, Jerry, and Mrs. Fields, who don’t care at all that you’ve been moping around in the same clothes for three days. You plop down in front of the tv, go through 1½ boxes of generic store brand tissue during a marathon session of every DVD that cross categorizes between “Romance” and “Drama,” and fall asleep on the couch listening to the Say Anything soundtrack

(*sigh* why can’t they all be like John Cusack?)…

Some girls drop kick the everything and head straight for Román. Three years of dead locks, split ends, and all kinds of emotional baggage? Cut it all off! I want to start fresh! I want to leave that messy mess behind! And the girl comes out, back to her roots, with fresh new (out)look, tossing their glossy flossy locks from side to side. “Watch out, world! I am ready!”

Some girls turn to retail therapy. Damaged psyche demands damaged credit. Baby needs a new pair of shoes. Patent leather peep-toes with a stiletto heel. And those adorable greige suede pumps will be perfect for summer-into-fall. Oooh, and…and…and…are those jeans on sale?

It seems that when there is something of a “break” of sorts, different girls deal with it in different ways. Either they go down one path of bodily harm and destruction, or they go down the other path of financial ruin. Or a chaotic, zig-zagging, weaving combination of all of the above with a few Citron/sodas thrown in for good measure. But in the end, there is always some melodramatic exit maneuver that signifies “moving on.” Like that haircut.

This girl? Forget it. No haircut. No shopping. And certainly no Ben & Jerry’s. I have taken the high road, and have decided that the fuck stops here. It’s time to get back in shape, both mentally and physically.

The mental part might not come so soon, but I can at least take on the challenge of the physical fitness. Too bad that I let my too-long-unutilized LA Fitness membership expire back in June, and there is no way I am paying the now ridculously increased monthly rates. Besides, I have to ease into it after leading a supersedentary lifestyle for the last 10 months. Then again, I have become amorously attached to my new laptop. Maybe I’ll walk to the end of the block today.

With my laptop.

But I can approach it from the other end. I may not be able to increase the energy output, but I can manage the energy input. Food. Meals. Not decreasing, just changing. I’ve got to stop eating all that junk. I haven’t admitted to it much recently, but yes, I have been subsisting these last few weeks on nothing but junk. One chocolate chip cookie is an indulgence, but I don’t care what you say about antioxidants, seven chocolate chip cookies in one sitting are junk.

I am exploring salads because this poor body hasn’t seen a fresh vegetable in weeks. (I would have said just “vegetable,” but French fries are potatoes and I’m pretty sure that the salsa on my nachos is made from vegetables, too.) Salads might be considered boring, but the challenge here is to see how interesting I can make them.

Of course, I know it’s doing neither my arteries nor my waistline any good to have a Cobb Salad laden with bacon, cheese, and avocadoes, but it sure beats…Carl’s Jr.

(That was a jo-ku. I haven’t eaten anything from Carl’s Jr. in about ten years.)
Cobb Salad in Bowls
The Classic Cobb Salad has a little bit of history, and it starts right here in LA. The basic story takes place either in 1929 or 1936, depending on whom you ask. Bob Cobb, the restaurant manager for The Brown Derby restaurant, created the salad as a way to use up leftovers. BobCobb (I just like to say his whole name) simply made the salad for himself, but he off-handedly mentioned it to legendary Hollywood promoter, Sid Grauman. Yes, that Grauman, as in Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Grauman asked to try the salad, and fell in love with it.

Basically, it’s today’s equivalent of Oprah liking something. The rest is history.
Cobb Salad Dressing 2

Cobb Salad

The original Cobb uses Romaine lettuce, frisee, and watercress, but I have a historical relationship with Iceberg and arugula. What can I say, I am a simple girl.

On a bed of greens, add in any amount that suits your taste: crumbled cooked bacon, diced cooked chicken breast or turkey, diced avocado, diced tomato, sliced or shredded hard boiled eggs, and crumbled blue cheese.

Drizzle Cobb Salad dressing over everything. To keep it original, garnish with chives. I did not garnish with chives, but rather with parsley. I’m a rebel.

Original Cobb Salad Dressing

This recipe has been re-printed countless times as “The Original” vinaigrette for Cobb Salad. Shake together:
¼ cup water
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon dry English mustard
1 small clove garlic
¼ cup olive oil
3/4 cup salad oil.

Well, I don’t ever leave well enough alone, so I made a slight modification to the above recipe, using all olive oil. In the end, shake it up to your own picky taste.

This post and recipe were originally published August 5, 2006 (with the photo below) back when I was going through the first of many breakups that fueled this blog. I’m going through a breakup, though this time, it’s with my old gorgeous house, glamorous neighborhood, and Westside lifestyle. The adjustment is slow and complicated.

cobb salad

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 onetomato August 31, 2006 at 10:12 pm

yay! good for you sarah…and hey, actually shopping for those stilettoes and jeans for three hours is a pretty good exercise :) at least that’s what i tell myself.


2 Clinton Walker III April 10, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Good to see a salad that is acutally healthy. Most people put so much garbage in the salad that it has more calories and fat than pizza.


3 Anonymous March 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm

What?!  I’m always so inspired by your delicious-looking kale dishes and still on my savory oatmeal jag that happened to coincide with your awesome series on the same.  How do you manage to fit in the junky treats (and look so good) and make all the healthy goodies at the same time?


4 Anonymous March 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm

oops, i see that this was originally posted SIX years ago!  well in that case yes, you HAVE made some big changes (that probably began as several small changes and just added up).  I’m enjoying the healthier direction of your recipes!


5 Sarah J. Gim March 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm

jeankh: be not ye fooled, jean…i still eat junk. i just got smart and don’t post about it. haha :D


6 Diana Hossfeld March 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm

So does this mean you want to come to my 6:30 am Bar Method class next Wednesday morning?


7 Sarah J. Gim March 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm

 D: i’ll be bar methoding with you in spirit until my ass actually gets up at 10 am.


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