Happy Monday my most favorite people in the world!
This weekend I hit up the Toronto Zoo.
I know, there are a million reasons why zoos are a bad idea – the objectification and confinement of animals, oppression of their natural instincts, cruelty, undue stress.
There are also a lot of reasons why they’re fantastic places – opportunities to study and learn about animals, conservation awareness, enriched habitats, rehabilitation.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about them so this weekend, I went to the zoo. I’ve been to a few zoos in my lifetime and I have to be honest – some of them have been incredible experiences that really reaffirmed for me why we need them. I’ve also been to a couple that hurt my little heart soul. The Toronto Zoo, unfortunately, seemed to be the latter.
Granted it was 30°C (that’s 90°F for my American friends) … plus humidity …. but the animals all looked so sad.
A lot of the enclosures were just that – enclosed. Small, sparse and an awful lot of cement. And I’m no animal expert, but many of the animals were alone – no friends. In Calgary the cages are much bigger, more elaborate and infinitely more integrative with respect to species and habitats.
The worst for me was seeing the lone hippo, laid out in the dust, trying to squeeze itself into the tiny corner of shade it had in it’s pen. No water. No mud. No grass. Just dirt. And it was bloody hot.
Not all the enclosures were like this – the grizzly bears and bison and flamingos seemed to have ample pools, landscapes and space.
But it made me feel icky inside. And again, I’m not a zookeeper – but they all just looked … So. Sad.
Something that doesn’t make me sad? Summer fresh figs. They’re such delicate little treats of sweet, fruity goodness. Chuck ’em in a peppery mix of Farmer’s Market arugula and a few slices of deep, musty bresaola, and you have yourself the makings of a perfect, healthy, no-cook Summer salad supper. Arugula Fig Salad in fact!
For something like this, only the best and freshest will do. Get good arugula – not the weird boxed stuff you buy at the grocery store. And use honey that’s bee-keep’d locally for the most incredible flavor. You want to eat this. It’s like dessert, for dinner. But loaded with just the right amount of savory.
Arugula Fig Salad with Bresaola
- 3 or 4 Large Handfuls of Fresh Arugula washed & dried.
- 4 Figs cut into quarters.
- 75 - 100 g Bresaola.
- 2 - 4 Tbsp Balsamic Reduction.
- 2 Tbsp Local Organic Honey.
- 1 Tbsp Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
Lay the bresaola out on a platter.
Toss the arugula with the olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Place on top of the bresaola and gently pile the figs beside.
Drizzle all over with honey and balsamic reduction.
Do you go to the zoo? What are your feelings about them?
Have any great Summer salad recipes for us?