Fattoush Salad

California boasts of being the home of the great American salad, and I have no reason to argue with that.  But the French, also claim to have the world's best salads, and they prefer to eat their salads last.  They do do because they don't want the taste of the wine ruined by the vinaigrette dressing.  I've never been able to wait until the end of the meal because I do love salad, but it helps, I suppose, that I don't drink wine.The word "salad" has made it into a great many languages-in Italy it's "insalata," in France, it's "salade," in Arabic, it's "salata."  This gives away the knowledge that fresh green vegetables and red ripe tomatoes are universal food, and that's as it should be.I was stunned when I first came to America that supermarkets carried a number of salad dressings that I 'd never before heard of.  French dressing, Italian dressing, Russian dressing, dressing with this and dressing without that...  Yet in France and Italy, French dressing is vinaigrette and Italian dressing in olive oil and vinegar with sweet basil.  In the Levant salad dressing is generally extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice, seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh mint.One would be stared at by the waiter in any of these countries if one ordered only a salad, even though it's a common practice here in America.  You would be accommodated, but the waiter would do a "Cafe' Le Beouf" ---Prairie Home Companion --on you.Local Farmers' market with its array of fresh vegetables should give you a good incentive to start chopping.Fattoush Saladserves 610        leaves Romaine lettuce1          punch parsley, chopped2         medium tomato, diced2         baby seedless cucumber, diced1          small red onion or scallion, chopped8         radishes, thinly sliced1         green bell pepper, diced2        8-inch pita loaves2        teaspoon dry mint1/4    cup Mediterranean  sumac1/2    cup lemon juice1/2    cup olive oilsalt to taste-Cut the pita into 1-inch square pieces.  Bake in 300 F.degree oven until golden and crisp.  Remove from the oven and set aside.-Place all the vegetables in large salad bowl.-Sprinkle with the mint, sumac and the salt.-Mix the lemon juice with the olive oil and drizzle over the vegetables.  Toss well until vegetable well coated.-Spoon the vegetable in a salad bowl, top with the toasted pita chips and serve.