Sunday, March 1, 2009

Stylish Salads

From Needlecraft, September 1914:

“There is no part of a dinner that is more important than is the salad. It is a good appetizer, and, rightly prepared, promotes digestion. A very important feature is that it should come to the table fresh and crisp, and when made with mayonnaise dressing should have only the heart of the celery or possibly the very center of the lettuce. It can be arranged around the outside and dotted through the salad, or it can be used only as a decoration. In arranging it, great care should be taken that no pressure comes upon it to flatten it down.

Radishes are always attractive for decoration, and can be cut in rounds or made into roses, as one prefers. For tea and lunch, vegetable salads are good, the lettuce with French dressing being better served after the meats. For a company dinner a chicken or lobster salad is out of place, being more appropriate for lunch or supper. Be sure to keep the celery or lettuce crisp, and do not add until just before serving.

There are many ways of making mayonnaise dressing. One good way is the following:

Mayonnaise Dressing. Yolks of two eggs and braid into them a teaspoonful of mustard, one half teaspoonful of salt, and into this drop the oil, stirring constantly until it is very thick in consistency. Thin it with the vinegar and after it is all done add the beaten white of the eggs. This is better after it stands a few hours.

Celery Salad. Cut crisp celery into short lengths and put on ice. When ready to serve, mix through it either mayonnaise or French dressing made of two tablespoons of olive-oil and one of vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Salad. Take young chickens and boil until tender. Remove them and when cool cut into one-inch pieces. To one pint of meat add three-fourths of a pint of celery. Season highly with pepper and salt. Mix the celery and meat lightly, and put on ice. Just before serving mix a good mayonnaise lightly through it. Serve on crisp lettuce-leaves with a spoonful of mayonnaise on each leaf.

Egg salad. Take any number of hard-boiled eggs and remove the shells and cut in halves. Remove carefully the yellows and make a dressing of them with chopped ham, pepper and salt, made mustard, butter and a little cream. Mix well and fill the whites. Put on ice until ready to serve. Serve on lettuce-leaves with French dressing or mayonnaise; or, serve in individual dishes with nasturtium-leaves for green, and cut the egg to look like a daisy.

Fruit salad. One and one-half pints of cut celery, three-quarters of a pint of cut pineapple, one half pint of shelled pecans. Use mayonnaise or French dressing with sugar and red pepper in it.

Grapefruit and English walnut salad. Take out the sections, being careful to remove all the white, bitter skins. To one quart of grapefruit, after it is prepared, add one pint of English walnuts. Serve with bleached lettuce, and a French dressing made of three tablespoonfuls of oil to one of lemon-juice. This salad can be served in a grapefruit-basket.

Orange salad. Take fresh, firm oranges and peel them carefully down to the pulp, removing all the white skin. Hold the orange with a fork, and with a sharp knife cut down on each side of the section and remove the pulp, taking care to keep its shape. Go over the whole orange this way. Serve on lettuce-leaves with a dressing of olive-oil and lemon, using two tablespoonfuls of oil to one of juice. Add pecan nuts to the dressing.

Potato salad. One quart of cold potatoes, one half pint of cold peas which have been cooked until tender, two or three good-sized, firm tomatoes not too ripe, two stalks of celery, one onion chopped fine. Cut the potatoes, tomatoes and celery into small pieces, add the onion, and season with salt and pepper. Serve on lettuce-leaves with a rich mayonnaise dressing. Serve in beets hollowed out.

Tomato salad. Take twelve large, ripe tomatoes. Remove the skin and cut the center from each. Fill the hole with a dressing of one cup hold ham which has been run through a meat-grinder, one tablespoonful of chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste, one teaspoonful of celery-seed, one half cup of bread-crumbs, one tablespoonful of olive-oil. Put on ice and serve with a rich mayonnaise.

Vegetable salad. Line a bowl with lettuce-leaves, and put on them young onions, radishes, and cucumbers sliced thin. Serve with French dressing and crisp crackers.”

The above article is from Needlecraft, September 1914. Laura Shapiro discusses American cooks' aversion to plain green salads in depth in her interesting and informative book, Perfection Salad (available at Amazon or your local public library). I recommend it (which is more than I can do for most of these salads).



Yes, most of these dishes sound rather nasty. A waste of perfectly good fruits and vegetables.

Shay said...

I'd eat the vegetable salad. I'm not sure about any of the others. And that mayonnaise recipe....

Lidian said...

The day I start cutting radishes into shapes is the day the moon is bright purple and pigs have wings!

Love the scans, as usual. Brilliant stuff!

Rochelle R. said...

The Perfection Salad book sounds quite interesting. I don't know how chopped celery and mayo could be considered a salad, no thanks, it needs something else.

T-Mom said...

I like reading vintage cookbooks, and I've noticed how they used celery where we would use lettuce today. I suppose celery was more common, or more easily available. Lettuce is almost always a decoration or something you presented the rest of the salad on, very seldom actually part of the salad itself. (Though I have seen a few recipes for stewed lettuce...)