I know of at least five friends from college who have ended up in Portland. One of them grew up here and found her way back home, but the rest of us have come out one by one, for jobs or family or simply a good soft place to land. I often think about the “always wear sunscreen” speech when I think about how quickly I am coming to feel at home on the west coast – “live in San Francisco, but leave before it makes you too soft.” I’m already too soft, and it hasn’t even been a year. I was in Idaho a week ago and there were no vegetarian restaurants! What? It’s not easy to find tofu in Boise? I’m crawling back under my hippie rock. (The co-op in Boise, it’s worth saying, is awesome.)

Anyway. I went to dinner at a college friend’s house a few weeks ago, and I was listening to a podcast of The Splendid Table on the train out there. A recipe that Lynne tossed out, almost as an afterthought, to a listener calling in about jicama, piqued my interest as I rolled into the Hillsboro station, and when ET came to pick me up, I said, “We’re stopping at the grocery store so I can make you this salad to go with our dinner.” This is not a salad I would have come up with on my own – jicama is not something that I think about on a regular basis, to say the least – so I’m tremendously grateful that someone else thought of it and passed it on.

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I’ve given up on trying to think of salads in terms of measured recipes. Toss together, all thinly sliced, jicama, red onion, peach (not too ripe – you don’t want it to feel mushy in comparison with the jicama), and fresh mint. Salt and pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar. Yum.

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