Should Salads Be on Plates or in Bowls? (A Short Debate About a Dumb Thing People Do)

Illustration for article titled Should Salads Be on Plates or in Bowls? (A Short Debate About a Dumb Thing People Do)
Photo: iStock

I eat salads often now, because I have transitioned to a phase of my life where I’m expected to eat them often, and I don’t want to subvert those expectations. I’m so immersed in salad culture, so attuned to the salad zeitgeist, that my affinity for leafy greens lightly fondled by zesty liquids precedes me. When I enter restaurants now, I’m offered myriad salads before I even find my seat. The finest of salads. I used to be offended by this, believing it to be a racial microaggression, until I started watching Succession and just decided not to be.

As a connoisseur, I’ve observed that despite the vast variance within the salad galaxy, there only appears to be two ways to serve them—on a plate or in a bowl. Or, more contextually, the stupid fucking way, and the only good way.

Now, it seems obvious that salads on plates are dumb. It seems like a thing you shouldn’t have to debate. It seems like a thing that, if someone mentioned a preference for a salad on a plate, would justifiably compel you to suspect they’ve recently been concussed. But obviousness is relative. I think it’s obvious that Joe Biden should be home watching Burn Notice marathons instead of running for president, but he’s still the frontrunner. And I still get salads on plates at restaurants sometimes, so obviously some people disagree.


To settle this, below is a reasonably, considering the circumstance, objective case for each way to serve salads.

The case for a salad in a bowl:

—It’s in a bowl, which means it’s not on a plate

—It stays in the bowl while you’re eating it, because that is the purpose of bowls

The case for a salad on a plate:

—You’ve recently graduated from clown school, but you don’t quite feel validated because your clown costume hasn’t arrived in the mail yet, so you ask for a salad on a plate so everyone will think “Oh! This man must’ve just graduated from clown school.”


—You have a fetish that involves eating soggy spinach directly off of tables after it’s fallen off of a plate.

It’s a free world, so you can eat salads however you choose to. On a plate. In a glass. Off a walrus’s ass. I don’t care. Just don’t ask me to join you on your journey to idiocy. Have some decency!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


There’s also soup plates and other liminal flatware.

As an extra thing: when eating salad with a meal at home, do you have an extra bowl on the side or put it on the plate with everything else? I take after my grandfather (a man known for forgetting his own anniversary/birthday, rushing to the store to get his wife a tree because that’s a perfectly normal anniversary gift, and then wandering the parking lot for an hour trying to remember where he parked his stolen car) in doing the former, making me an outlier in my family.