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Category: Mayonnaise

Dressing For Success: 1971 vs 2013

For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, (yes, I know I’m a little behind the times) Ruth, Shelley and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes.

My own unique tastes huh? Oh boy. Who smells trouble? With a capital T.

Vanilla Horseradish Dressing with Roast Beef Salad
Vanilla Horseradish Dressing with Roast Beef Salad

 The salad dressing challenge actually came at a good time as I had just started on “Salads For All Seasons” and the 1971 recipe comes directly from that. 

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned that the word “Surprise” when contained in a vintage recipe generally denotes something dubious? Well here’s another instalment of words to strike fear into the heart of any retro cooker.  Beware words denoting parsimony of any description – Pennywise, Frugal, Thrifty.  Even more than the “Surprise” these should best be avoided.

And for a double whammy, check out Erica’s great post on Retro Recipes for “Thrifty Drumstick Surprise”.

Yeah…See what I mean?

Then brace yourselves, because today we are taste-testing Rosemary Mayne-Wilson’s recipe for….


On page 23 of  Salads For All Seasons“, Rosemary Mayne-Wilson describes mayo as

“A process of forcing egg yolks to absorb oil and to hold them in an emulsion, thick and creamy”

And ok, not the most romantic of descriptions but technically correct. 

I can only assume that somewhere between writing page 23 and page 24 she was possessed by the devil.  It’s the only way to explain the eggless, oilless monstrosity that is the economical mayonnaise.

Economical Mayonnaise Recipe

 A lot of the time, if I think something is going to be awful, I don’t make it because I hate to see food wasted.  However, by its own definition this is economical.  So I thought I would give it a try.  So, I made it.  And it was…

Drumroll please….

 Absolutely fucking horrible.

Economical Mayonnnaise

The best thing you could say about it was that it looked like mayonnaise. And that it tasted like condensed milk mixed with vinegar.

Yeah, I know normally that wouldn’t be a plus.  Believe me, I’m scrambling for positives here.

The worst was….

Have you ever bought berry scented nail polish remover? This tasted like how that smells – there was an initial sickly sweetness followed by a throat catching, eye watering sharpness…it was really bad. And not one iota like lovely, gorgeous, creamy, delicious mayonnaise.

However, I wanted to be fair to the recipe and it’s not every day you eat mayo straight off the spoon – which is what provoked the above reaction.  And here at Retro Foods For Modern Times we are nothing if not scientific – so I had the idea to do a blind taste testing of the Economical Mayo vs a normal mayo. And what better item to test this on but what is fast becoming this blog’s favourite ingredient, the humble egg.

 The Egg Experiment

The Egg Experiment

I wanted to keep this very plain so the flavours of the mayo would be “pure” so I found a very simple recipe for Stuffed Eggs – pretty much just egg yolk and mayo. The idea was to make up two identical mixes, one with a bought mayo and one with the Economical, then mix up the egg halves so it was impossible to tell the difference between them – and blind taste test them. If I couldn’t tell them apart…then any snarkiness on my part was utterly due to my own prejudices and not fact.

That didn’t work. 

Primarily because the two versions looked completely different to each other. It was utterly impossible not to tell them apart:

Stuffed Eggs
Stuffed Eggs

 Even though the recipe was too heavy on the mayo, the bought mayonnaise behaved as it should when mixed with egg yolk and formed a rounded dome. Mixing the boiled egg yolks with the economical mayonnaise just made a yellow runny “mayonnaise”. It was so runny that when I bit into it, the mixture ran out of the egg all over my hand which was gross. The egg did temper some of the sharpness of the vinegar but in this instance – Epic Fail for 1971!!!

 So, after the disaster of the Economical Mayo, I was a little apprehensive about trying the modern recipe for salad dressing which also mixed a sweet ingredient with something quite pungent.  

The following is based on a recipe for Vanilla Horseradish dressing which I found in “500 Paleo Recipes” by Dana Carpender. 

I would have through cavemen would have been too busy trying to survive to be pfaffing about with vanilla beans.  Then again, my entire knowledge of the paleolithic era is based on B grade movies where scantily clad cavewomen and dinosaurs co-exist. So what do I know?


Vanilla Horseradish Dressing
Vanilla and Horseradish liven up a Vinaigrette!
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. ¼ cup vinegar – I used white wine, the original recipe calls for white balsamic
  2. 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  3. ¼ tsp white pepper
  4. ¼ tsp salt
  5. ¾ cup (175 ml) olive oil
  6. ¼ tsp mustard powder
  7. 2 tbsp horseradish
  1. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix together until it looks creamy – around 30 seconds.
  1. If you can lay your hands on fresh horseradish, it would be good to finely grate your own. I used bought horseradish sauce from the supermarket
Adapted from 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender
Adapted from 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender
Retro Food For Modern Times
This was awesome!!! Really, really good. I had this on a salad I made with some left over roast beef which was rather dry. By the time I came to eat this at lunch time, the beef was gorgeously, melt in your mouth tender – I suspect this was some action of the horseradish or maybe the vanilla.  Either way, it was delicious!!!

Vanilla Horseradish Dressin
Vanilla Horseradish Dressing

The vanilla is quite subtle, initially providing more of an aroma and only the teeniest undercurrent of flavour. You know, it’s of those times where, if you didn’t know what it was, you wouldn’t know what it was. But it would drive you mad trying to pinpoint what exactly it was.  

I also had this on a few other salads and it was good every time!

I would caution against adding more vanilla into the mix as I found that the longer I kept this in the fridge, and I had it in there for close to a week, the stronger the taste of vanilla became.  My vivid imagination? Possibly. 

I  would love to know what other people think of this recipe and if they noticed the same thing. Please let me know if you make it!!!

 Oh, and just in case you thought I meant a different kind of dressing for success, lets take a peek at what the cool kids were wearing in 1971.

For the ladies, it was definitely the year of the hotpant…


 Whereas for the gentlemen, it ranged from the high necked and tightly belted straightlaced work attire….

Men's Fashion

  To the “manly gown”   which was both smart and comfy for lazing in.

Toupé and soap on a rope optional extras. Sold separately.

Men's Fashion3

And then there was the downright bizarre….hang on…isn’t this the same guy from the first photo? Is this what he’s wearing under that tightly belted turtleneck? 

Men's Fashion 1971 4Eww…I’m going to go before this gets creepy…or should that be any creepier?

Have a fabulous week!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2



(Almost an) Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad

Remember way back when I made the Spaghetti Bolognese that had the chicken livers in it?  You know, “the best Bolognese ever” that prompted me to implement the “Don’t ask, don’t tell rule?” into all future cooking ventures?  Well, it happened again this week with the Almost Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad, and we’ll definitely go there but first….

Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad
Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad

You might be looking at the above picture and wondering why the featured item is called an Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad.  Because emeralds are green right?  Any fool knows that. And, you might assume that, this is one of those quirks of vintage cookbooks that I would normally mock mercilessly.

Unfortunately, wrong and wrong.

Sometimes, the fault lies entirely with me.  I’ll pause while you pick your jaws up off the floor.  But just to prove a point, let’s count all the ways I failed to notice a fairly crucial part of Nancy Spain’s recipe for Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad.

1 The name.  Emerald and Ruby.

2 Nancy also very kindly provides a picture of said Emerald and Ruby fruit salad.  And even more kindly, it is one of the pictures in the all colour cookbook that is in glorious technicolour.  And yep, it’s green.

Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad
Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad

3 The recipe quite clearly states that layer 1 consists of lime jelly and strawberries.

Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad

4. Emeralds are green.  Even failing all of the above.  Logic would dictate that the Emerald layer of the Emerald Fruit Salad would be green.

So, given all that  and that I trotted all the way to the shops and bought some lime jelly specifically to make my Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad, how on earth did I manage to use lemon i.e. yellow jelly in the first layer?

I know .  I was astounded at my level of dumbfuckery too.  Feel free to roll your eyes and face palm as much as you want.  I deserve it. But once you’re done, let me introduce you to my…(erm..just hold on a moment whilst I google yellow gemstones….) highly delicious  Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad.

Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad
Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad

It still looks pretty but…doofus mistake right? It also then really threw me for the second layer.  I had lime jelly left.  But, now the recipe called for lemon jelly.  Dilemma – use the lime jelly and hope it turns out ok?  Or head back down to the shops and buy some more lemon jelly?  In the end, I bought more lemon jelly.  I figured the avocado, mayo and salt combo was going to be enough of a sell even using the correct recipe.  Who knew what would happen if I threw the lime into  the mix?

Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad
Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad

So, now to the next part of this saga.

I live with the fussiest eater in the world.  And high on the lengthy list of foods he doesn’t eat are avocado and mayonnaise.

So, I was kind of surprised to get a phone call at work on Monday, after making this on Sunday.

“You know that jelly thing?”

“Uh huh”

“I saw you put the avocado in”

Fuck it.  Now I”m going to have to eat the whole thing myself. I’m going to be eating jelly until Easter.

“But I took some to work to have for  snack and…it’s surprisingly good.  What else is in there?”

Oh…ermm…jelly.  Lemon Jelly.

“Just lemon jelly and avocado?”

Yeah..pretty much…bit of lemon juice…

“Wow…who knew…it’s really good”

Good.  I’m glad you like it.

I’m going to hell.  I really am.  But you know, it also kind of proves my point.  Tonight if I served up a salad containing avocado and mayo, it would be left on the plate. And he would probably eat two slices of the Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad for dessert to make up for it.

Just as long as no one tells him what’s in it.

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2


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