[Posted by Ann] Our mother Amy was born in 1922 and lived through the Great Depression. She passed away May 5, 2013, barely a month short of her 91st birthday. Her cooking was simple and practical. She taught us to make a dinner salad at a young age because in our house, the child who set the table was expected to make the salad too.
Throughout her adult life, salad and "rabbit food" were her favorite things to eat. This photo dates from 1948. It was taken in a Connecticut farmhouse kitchen. Behind her stand ceramic oil and vinegar bottles that were part of a lovely canister set, with the hand- painted look of Stangl pottery.
The daily salad contained iceberg lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumber and tomato, and was dressed with made-from-scratch vinaigrette. Here is Amy’s 20th century recipe (ca 1956), followed by my twenty-first century variation. This was originally posted on Food52 for a Mother's Day theme in 2010.
Amy’s recipe, ca 1956
- iceberg lettuce, torn or shredded
- thinly sliced carrot, cucumber, celery
- tomato cut into eighths.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup white or cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Put the vegetables in a wooden salad bowl.
- Pour the dressing ingredients on top
- Toss until vegetables and salad dressing are well mixed
Ann's twenty-first century, updated version
- Lettuce from the farmer’s market
- Crisp seasonal vegetables, shredded or diced: radish, cucumber, turnip, parsnip, carrot, beet
- Fresh garden tomato or seasonal fruit (strawberries in spring, apple, pear, or citrus fruit sections in late fall and winter)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Whisk the dressing ingredients in the bottom of a wooden salad bowl.
- Add the vegetables and fruits.
- Mix until all ingredients are well coated with the vinaigrette.