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Salad at end of meal?

Hi, a Canadian friend whose parents came from England like to have the salad at the end of the main course, if he can. Is that more an at-home thing? British, or Canadian?

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  1. I am English and am used to salad with your meal not first as in the US. Not seen it after a meal.

    1. I am Canadian, and lived in Britain, and enjoy salad at the end of the main course when at home.

      1. Italians definitely eat their salad (just tossed greens in olive oil and red wine vinegar) at the end of their meal) at home.
        Canadians - well it depends on your heritage beyond Canada. In my experience, the majority eat their salad before the main course.

        2 Replies
        1. re: pescatarian

          It's also served at the end of a restaurant meal in Italy, although last time I was there some tourist-area restaurants down the coast from Genoa were making it available as an opener.

          At home in Illinois, it was usually served with the meal - as was everything else but dessert. At my in-laws' house, following French custom, it's served between the main course and dessert.

          1. re: pescatarian

            We've always eaten it after the main course, before the dessert.

          2. I always think people should search the site before they ask a question, and here I go doing the opposite! found this previous topic

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/349639

            1. When I was living in France as a student, salads were eaten at the end of the main course and before the cheese course. This was in restaurants and at home, which was a very middle class home. So it could be a Canadian thing, via France. Of course in the states, it drives my friends crazy when I save my salad to eat after dinner, but hey to each her own.

              1. We usually have the salad after the meal (I'm American, grew up in Europe & Canada, my husband is Dominican), but sometimes we have it before to "fill up" so we don't eat too much of other things!! Certainly in the Mid-West and South, where my parents now live, the salad is always served first in restaurants.

                2 Replies
                1. re: MMRuth

                  Salad before the end of the meal, with cheese. Sit for a bit to digest and then dessert.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I "fill up" with salad too. As I was thinking about that I decided that is probably a result of how salads are treated. Typical american salads are boring and don't have much use but for filling. Of course there's exceptions, but they're not the norm.

                  2. I have noticed this in French restaurants. Honestly, eating salad at the end of a meal does make digestion more efficient as your stomach acids are more concentrated when you eat your protein (which is more difficult to digest).

                    1. My Italian family ALWAYS ate salad at the end of the meal. Most of my French friends did this, too. In Italian, salads are sometimes called "Digestivi", referring, of course, to the digestion process. An explanation given to me about this concerned the particular type of vinegar used in Italian and French salad dressing. It is always a natural product, derived directly from soured wine, and thus contains live yeasts and bacteria which aid in the digestion of food.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rexsreine

                        rexsreine, if i just put old white wine in a cruet, when will i have this natural vinegar?

                      2. I always have my salad after the main course...at home and in restaurants.... if it looks like the server will have a coniption when I say this, I just keep the salad close to my left side and tell the server to leave it. This is from my Italian heritage.

                        1. Growing up, we always had our salad before the meal- and I am American (Irish background). As an adult, I travelled extensively for business, adopted the habit of some of the Europena countries of the salad after the main course. This is how we eat our salads now. And it works well with one of my young family members- my 6 yo nephew would fill up on only salad if allowed, and his mom is from an Italian background, so the salad is after the main.

                          1. Yep, at home (like others, Italian family) we ate the salad after the main course... usually dressed with just oil and vinegar. Now, I like to have it with my meal.

                            1. The salad before the meal is mainly an American (but sometimes British) thing that developed in restaurants to help fill one up with inexpensive greens before the main.

                              Traditionally in the Western world as part of a multi-course meal, salad is served near the end of a meal as something light to prepare you for the desert and cheese course.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: JMF

                                Some French salads are typically served as a first course. Bitter greens with a thick mustardy dressing, raw garlic, lardons and large country-bread crutons fried in the bacon fat alongside the lardons is much better as an appetizer than a palate cleanser.

                              2. Not something I have ever seen.

                                For me if salad was served at the end of the meal, it would not get eaten, much like I never eat desert. I am typically too full after filling up on the main courses.

                                1. I'm Canadian...and my parents always served salad after or with the main course. In my own home salad is served before the main course just like it is in any restaurant I've been to.

                                  1. jfood is beginning to change his view that salads at the end of the meal are a better way to serve. here's his logic. There have been countless times when the salad is good and does more than take the edge off the hunger. The brain has sufficient time to process the food in the stomach and starts sending out the electronic messages that OK guys, we're done. The when the entree arrives, jfood is not as hungry as he would like and maybe not njoy as mouch as he would have with a more empty belly.

                                    Interestingly at casa jfood, there is a salad next to the entree simultaneously. Mrs jfood eats her salad first and jfood eats in unison with the entree. Jfood is now starting to finish the entree first and then slowly finish the salad after the entree.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jfood

                                      Yes - at home we do it that way as well - and sometimes my husband has salad first - leaving my glorious (ha ha) cooked meal to cool off while doing so!!