One of the reasons I love old cookbooks is sometimes you get a little insight in to the lives of the people who owned them previously. My latest favourite vintage find, Salads For All Seasons is no exception.
There is an inscription on the front inner cover that reads “To Ann, Happy Christmas 1985. Love Aunty Ev & Uncle Bill.
Thing is…the book was published in 1971. I don’t want to judge but I dunno….unless it’s an absolute classic, giving someone a 14 year old cookbook makes me think that some regifting may have been at play here.
I suspect Ann may not have been the favourite niece.
In the foreward Elizabeth Durack Clancy O.B.E. says:
“I commend this book because it is so useful and practical. “The wilful extravagant maid” can learn some fresh devilment from these pages but the “housewife that’s thrifty” is equally catered for.”
Hmmm…I’m thinking Aunty Ev may have been one of those “thrifty housewives”. And good old Ann, a maid of will and extravagance. It’s all starting to come together….it certainly explains the parsimony of the Christmas present. And the lack of a term of endearment in the greeting.
Next up, the introduction where author Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us:
“Salad used to something served on Sunday evenings. It consisted of neatly shredded lettuce, tomato wedges, hard boiled eggs and a slice of cheese. It was served with the sliced leftovers of the Sunday roast. Generally it was put straight on the plate, but when there were visitors it was served in a crystal salad bowl. To make it daring, a blob of mayonnaise was added, but this ‘extra’ was confined to adults”
Personally, I’d be quite happy eating that salad. But more importantly, who knew mayo was a rite of passage?
Then again, have you heard of those Menarche Parties that people are throwing their daughters these days? I swear, if my parents had ever done anything like that to me, I would still be locked in the bathroom, listening to The Smiths on repeat and sobbing “You hate me don’t you? You really fucking hate me.”
You can view the full horror by clicking on the link below but just to whet your appetite, included in the party pack provided by…
wait for it…
Menarche Parties R Us…
(I swear you couldn’t make this shit up if you tried)
…are 2 games. One of these is called “Pin the Ovaries” and the other is called the “Puberty Marshmallow Game”.
Pinning ovaries sounds like something a serial killer would do. And I never want to know what a puberty marshmallow game entails.
For the love of God, bring back the dob of mayo on the Sunday Night Salad. “You’re a woman now Ann, have some Hellman’s”.
“Gee thanks Aunty Ev. Any chance of some tips on frugality?”
Wow,that was a spectacular digression. Where we we? Salad. Yes. Right. Ok. Sorry, I’m still being gobsmacked by the puberty marshmallow game.
Salad. We’re here to talk about salad.
Back to the Introduction of Salads For All Seasons – after dropping in the comment about the mayo, in a lovely piece of randomness, Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us:
“Of course this has all changed and now nearly everyone owns a wooden salad bowl”
Bear with me while I nip across to Ebay because I am one of the few who own nothing of the sort. And now I desperately want one. I really want one that looks like this:
But I’m guessing I might have to make do with something a little more mundane.
And it will come in handy because I’m thinking that this could be a long haul. There is so much that is both amazing and godawful in Salads for All Seasons, that I think it’s worth spending some time here.
I was going to work through it from start to finish…until I read some of the recipes and paused for a moment of sanity. So we’ll be kind of working our way through in a fairly random order but skipping some of the truly awful and the just plain boring.
But just to get us off to a to an extravagant and devilish start, put your hot pink dancin’ shoes on, because your tastebuds are going to be doing the Rhumba with this awesome Cuban inspired salad.
Who knew you could put rum into salad dressing? It’s certainly efficient – you can toxify and detoxify at the same time!!! And it tastes great!
I”m going to be spending my week, trying not to think about marshmallows! Hopefully Salad dressing liberally dosed with Bacardi will help that act of forgetting.
Have a fabulous one whatever you do!