What exactly is salad cream?

My husband still likes salad cream but it’s too vinegary and sweet  for my taste now. My daughter thinks it’s disgusting and I was trying to explain that when we were children we barely knew what mayonnaise was and never ever saw it at home or in the shops – I guess in those days people who had mayonnaise made it themselves… as my cousin still does now!

“There wasn’t anything else, just salad cream,” I said.
“Bleagh! Well, I wouldn’t have eaten it, I would have gone without!”
“But since there wasn’t anything else we just used salad cream for potato salad as well as salads for example…”
“Well I hate salad…”

Yes, the sort of conversation you have with children, even if this ‘child’ is well past the of majority! Tuna mayo?  she asked – we didn’t have tuna, just tinned salmon, another ‘bleagh!

I must remember to include salad cream in my 1950’s novel, and i guess in the 50’s many people would have made a creamed salad dressing at home, there are certainly in many and various in my old cookery books. In my Modern Practical Cookery you have a choice of:

  • home-made salad cream which is a white sauce, cooled and with vinegar, oil, mustard, sugar and seasoning added
  • cream salad dressing made with double cream, lemon juice, grated onion, tomato ketchup, vinegar and seasoning
  • another cream dressing which like the one above is made with cream, plus Worcestershire sauce, sugar, lemon juice, seasoning
  • condensed milk salad dressing – the unsweetened sort of condensed milk is used you’ll be relieved to know, plus hard-boiled egg yolks, mustard vinegar, sugar, seasoning
  • economical salad dressing which is similar to the home-made salad cream but with a raw egg beaten in, sugar, vinegar, seasoning and cayenne pepper

There is a recipe for actual mayonnaise and also other dressings, French, Italian and mint which sounds very nice except they use mint sauce – I would use fresh chopped mint. It also has chopped chives, and is an oil and vinegar dressing so does sound as if it would be lovely and refreshing.

Constance Sprye in her 1956 Cookery Book also had cream dressings, some using sour cream as well as cream. It’s interesting that although she gives cooked cream dressings, she describes them as old-fashioned boiled dressings – which don’t sound very inviting!

I have a little booklet, missing its cover and first few pages, which must have been published in the 1960’s – it probably was my mum’s and i have no idea actually how old the recipes are, but it was a freebie with an Electrolux refrigerator Here is their salad cream recipe:

Electrolux Salad cream

  • 1 hard-boiled egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp evaporated milk
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp dried mustard
  • ½ tsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • salt and pepper
  1. blend the yolk, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper and water and beat until it is quite smooth
  2. add the milk and whip until thick
  3. flavour with a little vinegar or lemon – but not too much or it will not rewhip

Here is an interesting article about salad cream:





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