Inspirational Mediterranean Lentil Salad

I got a cynical outlook on life, sometimes dark, sometimes pessimistic......and then once in awhile I am humbled. I am humbled to have a son like mine, with his forgiving, optimistic outlook on life.  Unmarred or disillusioned.  Is he really mine?!  I've got better over the years, if you think I got a sharp edge you had to meet me few years back.  I got softer, maybe only slightly but nevertheless softer, and then I had a brief encounter with Mollie Katzen and the sharp edge dulls a bit further. It was a twitter encounter. I told Mollie Katzen, about twelve years ago I had a lentil salad of hers , I fantasize about to this day.  I saw her and followed her on twitter for couple of months now, but felt strange approaching her.  Did not feel like 'pouncing' on her or seem star struck.  At some point I saw how nice she was so I mustered the courage to tweet her. I could never in million years guess the ingredients in that salad.  I got couple of cookbooks by her, went to bookstores over the years to leaf through some of the others authored by her, just to find that recipe.  I even googled for it to no avail.  I must admit about twelve years ago, in Israel, in the expat community near Tel Aviv, when this Jewish American girl invited us to dinner, looking intently at this cookbook by one Mollie Katzen, I was clueless.  The American Jewish girl was 'chattering' away with another friend, an African American girl, while chopping away, to what sounded to me like an excited chatter 'Moose this and Moose that'. I was watching them with doubtful eye, skipping a heartbeat at the thought that soon we will have to consume this disasterous salad.  I cringed as the American Jewish girl was chopping up a storm, and adding to the bowl, what seemed to me as sweet or fruit to a savory dish....and then.......I tasted it..... and fantasized about it ever since. How can you not love a person, even though a stranger in essence, when they are so gracious. When I pieced the story together for Mollie Katzen on twitter and email, she 'tweetered' (I like tweetered) me back "Great story. Thanks for piecing it together- a poetic tweet-quilt with email stitching". What a woman, in a brief encounter I found a whole world of inspiration . Soothing, calm, gracious and generous, maybe a 'shanti goddess?! :). Chips away at the edges of my roughness!! Check out her site at , recipe and get the Still Life with Menu Cookbook for the Mediterranean lentil salad recipe among other great gems.

*Please note I have made this salad on multiple occasions, with orange sections and orange and lime zests and without.  My personal taste and preferred version is without!
Still Life with Menu Cookbook


  1. I know what you mean, my edges are sharp too and I try to work on sanding them down but it can be a struggle. It's always inspiring when you come across people, or know people in your life who are effortlessly bright...But though it's important to work on ourselves, it sounds like we are both lucky to have people who appreciate us, prickles and all.

  2. I am the opposite, all gentleness and softness:) I disarm people with my smile. But then, everybody thinks I am weak, which is SOOO wrong:)
    I like your story, Shulie. Who knew 10-15 years ago that Mollie Katzens of the world would be commonplace names in our households?
    I am intrigued by this salad and look forward to making it on a warm California afternoon:)