I don’t remember how it was that I came to be sitting at the Formica dining room table in Grandma Groovy’s townhouse while she put together her signature broccoli bacon salad for some long-forgotten family occasion. I’m not even sure how old I was, except that the table was definitely Formica with metal legs and not the much nicer wooden one that replaced it in later years.
I guess the name Groovy deserves a short explanation. Grandma was always Groovy to me, although her given name was Eleanor. In November of 1968, three years before I was born, the Turtles came out with the song “Eleanor,” whose lyrics said, “I really think you’re groovy.” Eleanor’s youngest daughter brought home the song, and her mom’s nickname, from her freshman year of college that Thanksgiving.
Anyway, the salad. Groovy wasn’t really much of a hands-on person, but she described everything she was doing that day in detail. I think I’ve always really enjoyed this salad because it reminds me of how much I love not only my grandma, but also a time when the world seemed somehow less complicated.
The salad can be quite versatile, although I always make it exactly the way Groovy did. Some people add grated carrots or strips of red or green bell pepper for color. Dried cranberries can be substituted for the raisins, and chopped pecans or walnuts can be added.
Broccoli Bacon Salad
12 strips bacon, cooked crisp and diced or crumbled
2 broccoli crowns (5-6 cups florets), slightly steamed but still crisp
1/2 cup raisins, soaked till slightly soft
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup mayonnaise (*not* Miracle Whip)
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise with sugar and vinegar. Fold dressing into salad. Chill for a few hours before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge. Enjoy!
About the Author
Jo Elizabeth Pinto was among the first blind students to integrate the public schools in the 1970’s. In 1992, she received a degree in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado. While teaching students how to use adaptive technology, she earned a second degree in 2004 from the Metropolitan State College of Denver in Nonprofit Management. She freelances as an editor and a braille proofreader and is a contributor of The Writer’s Grapevine Magazine where more articles like this may be found.
As an author, Pinto entertains her readers while giving them food for thought. In her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she draws on personal experience to illustrate that hope is always an action away.
Pinto lives in Colorado with her husband, her teenage daughter, her guide dog Spreckles, and an aging family cat named Sam-I-Am.
Her website is: http://www.brightsideauthor.com.