Well friends, we find ourselves back in the state of Indiana for another fun culinary week. Only there’s one problem here--Indiana was super boring food-wise (and otherwise too, but goodness, they’ve suffered enough, so I won’t pile on) the first time around, and the state has done little to improve its gustatory profile in the past two weeks. I mean, we were talking about white bread last time--this is a DIRE situation.
So, for Purdue Week, we’re going to fantasize that we’re in a better, if more raccoon-infested, place, namely… Pawnee, IN. Sure, it doesn’t exist, but long-time readers of this blog will remember that not so long ago, Purdue didn’t either ((redacted) #neverforget). Parks and Recreation, one of the finest shows in the history of TV, was one of the best things to ever happen to Indiana, and while that’s a low bar to be sure, it’s worth noting. So, to celebrate that, we’re going to take our food cues from that beloved show.
Today, we’re going to get things started off right… with a salad. Blech. Salads suck, and Leslie Knope, heroine of Pawnee, knows this. “I stand by my decision to avoid salads and other disgusting things,” says our girl. Damn right, Leslie. But you know, sometimes for cholesterol or whatever, you have to eat a salad. Witness Leslie’s exchange with Tanya, proprietor of the inexplicably named Sue’s Salads:
Tanya: “Okay, couldn’t you put Sue’s Salads here?”
Leslie: “On Deep Fried Boulevard?”
Tanya: “It’s just, there’s so many junk food places, and only one salad stand.”
Leslie: “Well, we wanna make money, not make people hate themselves.”
Tanya: “Salads are my life!”
Leslie: “Of course. I’m sorry. Um, you know what we’ll do? We’ll make Sue’s Salads the official healthy choice of the Harvest Festival.”
Tanya: “Well, that’s great. Thank you.”
Leslie: “Of course. Sure.” (Under her breath) “Nobody’s gonna come to your stupid booth anyway.”
Tanya: “I’m sorry?”
Like Purdue at various points in recent years, salads make people hate themselves. But sometimes, you just have to gut it out. So tell us--when you have to make a healthy choice, what’s your go-to salad? How do you make this terrible food palatable?
WSR: All right, I’ll admit that I’m far more of a salad person than is probably acceptable both as a Midwesterner and a member of my family. Regardless, my go-to is either a spinach salad with either tuna or salmon, cranberries, walnuts, and an olive oil dressing. Simple, healthy, pretty good, and just filling enough. For a salad, anyway.
Jesse: I don’t hate salads - both the Midwest, whipped cream version AND the healthier non-Midwest versions containing actual vegetables - but ingredients do matter, especially in the healthy state.
Generally, a good salad will have some sort of either baby spinach or spring mix, something with actual crunch (carrots, cucumbers, peppers, etc.), and hopefully something like a nut or whatever for sweetness at the base. I like proteins like salmon but it’s rare I actually just sorta hve that on hand so usually steak or chicken is fine with me. Throw a hard-boiled egg, some freshly shredded cheddar, craisins or grapes or apples, and a nice homemade vinegarette and it’s happening, you know? Basically, sweet, salty, sour, crunchy, bitter, cold, and hot. If you’re eating a salad, it’s gotta have a little of all that. AND, if you’re feeling real cool, just switch cheddar with goat cheese and make sure to have some pistachios.
MNW: Finally, someone good doing these potlucks. And referencing Parks and Rec, to boot. Thank goodness.
Anywho, my favorite salad is one where you start with some nice Granny Smith apples, then add a light Cool Whip base, some vanilla pudding, and top it with crumbled Snickers. It’s not the Pawnee steakhouse salad (I don’t have any gumballs, and cherry tomatoes are gross), but it’ll do, for now.
Boilerman31: I keep it fairly simple when it comes to salad. Perhaps because I didn’t really eat salad unless forced to do so when I started dating my wife. My go-to for lunch is a bowlful of 50-50 Spring Mix and Spinach, either turkey or chicken left over from supper, some cheese (Colby Jack or Feta), and some Italian dressing or Raspberry Vinaigrette. Simple. Easy. Gets the job done.
Stew: Take some nacho cheese doritos and crunch them up a little and put them in a bowl. Brown up some ground beef and add taco seasoning of choice. Put that in the bowl with the doritos. Add some shredded lettuce, salsa, and a bit of cheese. Viola, taco salad! But is it healthy? Of course it is, it’s a salad. (Ed. Note: Stew is Midwesterning correctly.)
Creighton: I’m a simple man of simple pleasures. I like spinach topped with a little bit of protein (hard boiled eggs, or perhaps chicken if I’m feeling adventurous) and something crunchy (croutons or whatever) topped with a vinaigrette of some type. Oh, and some little tomatoes.
babaoreally: When I force myself to eat salad for health reasons, I generally go for a Caeser salad from Wendy’s and eat it without sauce. It doesn’t taste good, but it makes me feel better about myself.
BrianB2: As an actual employee at the actual Parks and Recreation job place , I have grown to loath references made about that particular television program. Then I find myself watching reruns of the aforementioned television program and completely understand why people reference it so much….God Damn you Ron Swanson...God Damn you, you have made my life a living meme. On the other hand, I am on board with salads. I hate Parks and Rec (I don’t), and I love salads (It’s more of a mutual acceptance), I figured I would introduce myself to the OTE community with guns blazing.
BRT: I already hate BrianB2. And salad. Fruit salad or GTFO.
Purdue’s unaccustomed relative success last season under Jeff Brohm had Boilermaker fans (and the athletic department) facing some anxiety when the Louisville head coaching position rather spectacularly opened up after the program crashed and burned under the Bobby Petrino Experience (neck brace not included). In order to keep Brohm happy,
they fed him salads gave him a sweetheart contract worth $36.8 million over seven years. Many applauded Purdue for this expenditure, saluting it as a sign that the administration was finally taking football seriously (man, how refreshing to say that about college sports, amirite?). And it was certainly understandable that Purdue didn’t want Brohm to leave, as he’s done good work in West Lafayette so far. However… he was still 6-7 last season, and that’s pretty spendy for a .500 coach. The contract was predicated on anticipated improvement and potential upside--but it would be silly to pretend there was no risk here. So, what do you think? Was this a good outlay for Purdue, and will it pay off? What’s Brohm’s ceiling with the Boilermakers?
Andrew: The choice for Purdue was either pay the guy or he most likely would have left, and then you’re back to spinning the Wheel Of Coaches. Maybe you find another Brohm; more likely you find a guy closer to Darell Hazell. Brohm had a couple of dynamite teams at WKU, and he’s drawing in vastly better talent than he ever had there in a division with no powerhouse standing in the way (albeit a lot of competition). There’s no reason he can’t win the division at the very least within the next 2 or 3 years, and given where Purdue was before he came, he would be worth every penny.
WSR: Yeah, they didn’t have a choice. When you’re .500 or better, the coach you know is almost always going to be better than the coach you don’t. But honestly? I have no idea what the ceiling is, because the West is so very wide open right now. All it takes to go from the cellar to dreaming of Pasadena is a competent coach, some athletic department support, and a couple years of patience. Because as we should all never forget, we’re only 3 years away from Purdue, Illinois, and Rutgers going a combined 3-24 in the B1G.
BrianB2: As far as Purdue football goes, I went to the Purdue @ Maryland game in 2016, I sat next to a couple of inebriated Purdue grads, Maryland won 50-7, it rained, we all drank beers and waxed about how bad our respective teams were, none of us really cared about the result...I think that sums up both programs pretty well.
Jesse: They really did have to pay him, so here we are I guess? I’m kind of with the initial sentiment in that this whole thing feels ridiculous but football jumped the shark a long time ago. If you take the noise coming from ‘only being .500’ last year and ask what the goal is, you need not go further than recruiting. In 2016, there were zero blue chip kids signed by the Boilermakers and they were last in the Big Ten, 2017 followed the same script, and Brohm got there for the 2018 class and all of a sudden they got one blue chip kid (Rondale Moore, might’ve heard of him) AND were not last. 2019 was legitimately good in that they landed four 4* kids, and finished fifth in the conference in recruiting. I’m not sure Brohm is the answer for sure because like, this is Purdue and it’s been up and down - mainly down - to say the least, but I like that there’s talent coming.
MNW: That collapse really couldn’t have worked better for Brohm. He gets to stay in the Big Ten (vastly superior to an ACC also-ran, Lamar Jackson years notwithstanding), gets paid, and gets a gig where 6-6 can get you by for quite a damn while. So no one was going anywhere, and we all know that. Right? We can move on with just realizing that now Purdue is paying Brohm what he’s worth to them?
At that point, it’s (1) gravy, and (2) a “go bowling” proposition. I mean, Brohm could go anything toward 10-2! Will he? Probably not! The Big Ten West is dark and full of mediocre spiders. But it’s still tough for mediocre teams looking to just crack through in a random-ass year. So...I’d say a 75% bowl rate is the ceiling for Purdue right now. Does that work? Good. Now I’ll take a stack of JJ’s waffles.
Boilerman31: Having experienced one of the worst eras of a program that dubbed most of the 80s and 90s the “Dark Ages” and Hope and Hazell’s tenures the “Dark Ages Part 2”, Purdue didn’t really have much of a choice. Pay the man or return to who knows what? Pay the man. Now, this season has me up in the air. The schedule should be manageable to make it to a bowl game but honestly, I’ll take some consistency at this point. Purdue’s MO last season (after the early chokes) was hauntingly familiar. Play a big game, disappear the following week. If Brohm is to be deemed a good outlay, the constant letdown mode needs to stop. Compete week in and week out should be the goal.
As to the ceiling for Purdue, we aren’t going to reach the CFP but the B1G Title Game every few years and a trip to Pasedena isn’t too much to ask.
Stew: It was really more a question of leverage. Brohm had it in spades. It’s not ideal to have to pay him a Ferentzian contract after year 2, but thems the brakes sometimes. Like others have said, paying the money was better than the alternative of losing him. And while Purdue may want to cry poor, the B1G is Scrooge McDucking it out here (except rutger, go away, rutger). This ain’t gonna bankrupt them.
Creighton: The choice was to either pay him big, or cash in on having low program expectations and by letting him go and facing not above average disgruntlement from the fans in West Lafayette. By letting him go they would’ve essentially been admitting that they intended to hire either a mediocre coach that would be fired in less than 5 years, or another good coach that they expected to be hired away because they weren’t committed to investing in the football program. I think they made the right choice and even if Brohm doesn’t work out, Purdue is a Big Ten football program and won’t exactly be hurting for cash.
There you have it! We’ve reached various levels of acceptance regarding salads, and we’re pretty much on board with Purdue paying Jeff Brohm cash money. How about you?
This poll is closed
Life-giving and amazing, and I also am not really a Midwesterner
Acceptable, if you put enough unhealthy things on them