a little Sophocles and some fabulous honey mustard salad dressing

July 21, 2013


At work this week, I came across a webpage about academic integrity. Across the top of the page was a line by Sophocles – “Rather fail with honour…..

“…. than succeed by fraud.”sophocles

I thought about how many times I’ve failed and how I’ve never, ever, considered failure in any way honourable.

And yet the truth is, it really is so much more noble to fail with honour than succeed by fraud. Sophocles just re-framed failure for me. And it’s kind of brilliant. It’s a whole new way of looking at both failure and success. And this from a man who was born in 496 BC. He was writing 2500 years ago – more or less. That’s two thousand, five hundred years ago. And he’s still making perfect sense.

I scribbled the epigram onto a post-it note and stuck it in my diary. When I came home, I erased the weekly dinner menu on my chalkboard and wrote out the quotation instead. It’s the first time my kitchen chalkboard has had anything on it other than a menu.

Over the course of the weekend, I looked at the chalkboard and thought about Sophocles. Oedipus the King was on my high school reading list and even though I read it – I had no real concept of when it was written. Unbelievably, despite living at more than 25 different addresses around the world since high school, I still have my copy of the book. It has moved to Australia and back from Canada three times. It has lived in Melbourne, Vancouver, Calgary, Waterloo, Guelph, London, Brisbane and now finally – Kingston. It’s stamped $2.95 inside the front cover. If books could talk!

I picked the book up and started reading. I remember my fantastic high school English teacher reading it aloud dramatically – stopping to explain – asking us what the big concepts were. But the truth is, I think it was wasted on us. I’m probably ready now to start reading Sophocles.

Because I was reading Sophocles this weekend, instead of cooking, I whipped up a salad for dinner. And to go with the salad, I used up the last of my Dijon mustard in this dressing – recipe below. The dressing tastes like Cross and Blackwell English Salad Cream (a taste out of my childhood) – for those of you who know how that tastes. Delicious. Addictive. It’s healthy too – especially if you use the apple cider vinegar. I recommend serving it with a big salad of organic greens, hot olives, hard-boiled eggs, cold sliced potatoes, and sliced avocado. Call it dinner.

The salad dressing jar, by the way, has a chalkboard lid. I found this fantastic idea on an Australian blog I follow – Brown Paper Belle –  http://brownpaperbelle.com/2013/07/05/spice-up-your-life/. Here’s a photo from Brown Paper Belle.


I went out and bought a can of chalkboard spray paint and sanded down a few lids. I’m still searching for the fabulous chalk marker. In the meantime – regular chalk will have to suffice.

Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellmann’s)
2 tbsp honey

Whisk the ingredients together and pour into a bottle. Will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

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  • Reply laura mechefske July 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Damn delicious! Thanks for the recipe Mum, I am going to mix up a bottle this week – and I have an adorable little jar to mix it in 🙂


  • Reply thehungrymum July 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Fab dressing and love the presentation! I also follow Brown Paper Belle blog – so fab. Finding chalkboard markers is driving me crazy! Tried everywhere…

  • Reply apuginthekitchen July 21, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Cool idea and love that quote. Your salad dressing sounds wonderful. Never tasted the Salad Cream but I do love a creamy dressing.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 22, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks Suzanne – also love the quote and keep thinking about it. Sheds a new more positive light on failure! 😉

  • Reply Dave More July 21, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Sophocles and salad and mini blackboards from the land of Oz. Just simply outstanding. You go, grrrl, you ain’t failing!


    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Very sweet – thank you. I do my share and then some of failing but I do usually fail with honour.

  • Reply Jennifer Smeltzer July 22, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I LOVE this dressing…. absolutely perfect!!! Well done Lindy!

  • Reply Eliza B July 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    That is such a brilliant idea- well both things are, the dressing and the chalkboards. I’ll have to give them both a try, although I’m less crafty more into cooking, so the dressing will probably come first.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Just home from work and saw your latest post – which I have to say – I love. Couldn’t agree more. Going over there now to say so….

  • Reply johnnysenough hepburn July 25, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Grief, I’ve missed this post as well. What’s going on with Yahoo??
    Anyway, I was popping into your previous post when I spotted this. Have to confess, I’ve never liked salad cream. This, with home-made mayo (not being a snob but my system won’t deal with shop-bought) I would love, no doubt. And after my last post I really must make more of an effort to do dressings proper more often rather than chucking on some oil, vinegar and herbs unto my salads (which, incidentally I did tonight). Hypocrite that I am 🙂

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 25, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      Oh to be a proper chef! I’m not – obviously – and must confess – I haven’t made mayonnaise for years. And you;re not a hypocrite – oil and vinegar is the best. Balsamic and olive oil with a dash of maple syrup is my favourite – but I’m having a grand trip down memory lane with the dressing that so reminds me of Cross and Blackwell’s salad cream. It’s because I’m getting old…. 😉

  • Reply tinywhitecottage July 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Hi there! I just nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger award. You do not have to participate at all just know I love your blog and wanted to acknowledge your beautiful space. You can read more about it on my post . http://cottagegrovehouse.com/2013/07/27/kreativ-blogger-award/
    Have a good day! 🙂

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 28, 2013 at 6:34 am

      Thank you so much!! I can’t decide what to make of the blog awards but regardless am so honoured. I’m living the tiny white cottage in Seattle life vicariously through you and loving it. By the way – found this “tiny white house” in Oregon online the other day while researching for small house design plans… and thought of you. Lindy 😉

      • Reply tinywhitecottage July 28, 2013 at 11:11 am

        I’m indecisive about awards too. I decided to act on this one because of the showering of recognition all in one week! 🙂 And like you am honored and so appreciative of being recognized for all the work that goes into the blog. Ohmygosh…that tiny white house in Oregon is so gorgeous! My dream. We are in the middle of remodeling ours and I do see some similarities in both design and style. We too have the large wood paneling, not painted…but plans to paint it white! I love it and what a beautiful blog too. Do you live in a “small” house too? Just curious because you were searching for small house design plans…

        • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

          That tiny white house is Oregon is my dream too!! Well, one of them. And I love good design. It’s funny because I really did think of you the second I saw it. I don’t live in a tiny house at the moment – but I’m about to. However it’s an old (1840s) limestone townhouse. It’s in need of love. Aren’t we all?!

          • tinywhitecottage July 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm

            haha. Indeed we are all in need…. 1840’s! That is old! I can not even picture it! Sounds so enchanting.

  • Reply My Little Home and Garden July 27, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Where else would Sophocles and salad dressing meet on the same blog. I’ll be trying this recipe.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 28, 2013 at 6:26 am

      Dear Karen – just visited you via blog-land and I want to come and frolic in your beautiful garden. Thanks as always for stopping by mine. Lindy

  • Reply Tonette Joyce August 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    We’ve failed with honor a lot here! I have been trying to convince my grandkids,(10,9 &7), that passing the buck or covering their tail feathers are not acceptable, but to own-up and learn from their mistakes. That’s a tough lesson to teach.
    And what an interesting use for chalkboard paint!
    I’m not a mustard fan, but the Husband is.I will keep your recipe handy!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen August 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      Tonette – it’s s a great lesson and one that most of have to keep re-learning! 😉

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