April means many things. Spring arrives and we put away our skis and snowshoes. There are April showers or rather downpours. The roads are a sea of mud or an obstacle course of pot holes and frost heaves or both. And of course, baseball season begins. Yesterday was opening day and next week Fenway Park will throw open its doors for the first home game.
Growing up outside of Boston, I was raised on the Boston Red Sox. However, I was not exactly a diehard fan. Not like my seventh grade math teacher. She was the one who struggled with new math but taught it anyway. On game days, she stopped class every ten minutes or so to turn on the radio for an update. I was more of the nothing-else-is-going-on type of fan. I was more than happy to watch the Red Sox play as long as the game didn’t interfere with something important … like a trip to the beach or the mall. Still and all, I read the sports page once or twice a week, understood the rules of the game and some of the strategies and followed all the players (particularly the handsome ones).
Although I was never quite so devastated as my math teacher, like most of the population in and around Boston, the Red Sox broke my heart countless times. They even lost the first time I watched a game live and in person in Fenway Park.
Back in the days before retirees put on reflective vests and held up stop signs, sixth graders manned the crosswalks. Or at least they did in my quiet suburban town west of Boston. An invitation to join the Safety Patrol was supposed to be some kind of honor or recognition of the town’s future leaders. Our teachers liked to pretend it was a role reserved for the best of the best.
It was a myth that only the top students were invited to guard the safety of their classmates. At eleven, I was not a brilliant student. As far as I know, I did not show great promise as a future leader of industry, government or academics. I was a sweet little girl who turned in her homework on time and got along with both her classmates and teachers. In other words, I was a bit of nerd, cheerful and well behaved with decent if not spectacular grades. Evidently, that was enough to qualify for the prestigious mantle of Safety Patrol. By year’s end, about half of the sixth grade had put in their time keeping younger siblings and neighbors from harm’s way.
The reward for the onerous duties of Safety Patrol was a trip to Fenway Park. Not opening day mind you but we did get to play hooky. Sometime before school let out at the end of June, yellow school buses circulated through the town picking up a couple hundred sixth graders and then headed into Boston. As field trips go, it was better than Benson’s Wild Animal Farm, much better.
It was all very exciting. The day was perfect, bright and sunny. One of the announcers proclaimed it Safety Patrol Day or some such thing and welcomed us over the loud speakers. We sat in the bleachers, stared at the regulars, ate popcorn for lunch, drank cokes and felt very grown up. There’s nothing like a ball game under sunny skies. Especially on a school day and even when the Red Sox break your heart.
Enjoy the start of baseball season and bon appétit!
Confetti Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Win or lose, enjoy a festive salad after the game!
6 ounces baby mixed greens
1/2 small head radicchio, thinly sliced
4 radishes, chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 carrot, cut in curls with a vegetable peeler
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
Citrus Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Put the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl and toss to combine. (If preparing ahead, prepare and add the avocado just before serving.)
Drizzle the salad with enough Citrus Vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss to combine. Put the salad on a serving platter, top with crumbled feta and serve.
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4-inch slice red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-2 teaspoons honey
1-2 teaspoon anchovy paste
Pinch cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Put all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a blender and process until smooth. With the motor running on low, slowly add olive oil to taste and process until smooth.
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What’s your favorite spring sport? Let’s get a conversation going.
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook as well as a day in the life photoblog! In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2013