Christmas… and winter salad

We’re heading towards Christmas and the event which really heralds the festive season is, for me, the family party. It started when I was about four or five years old, and my aunty invited me and my cousin for a Christmas tea. Father Christmas was invited too, and since then he has come every year as the family has grown. At first it was me and my cousins, now we’re mostly married, mostly with children, and some with grandchildren.

We share the preparation and this year I am on salads; I really do love salad with a variety of different vegetables, not just leaves but left over other things, beans, peas, sweetcorn, even sprouts cut in half, odd ends of cheese/ham/ /chicken, nuts, seeds, stale bread cut in cubes, cold rice… just about anything really… and not just traditional salad vegetables, raw carrots, beetroot (my fave) leeks, sprouts (again)… yes almost anything can go in my salad… oh and fruit, any fruit! However, for the family party, I will restrain myself and not make it too different or complicated!

When I was growing up salad did have a bad name, flabby lettuce, tomatoes cut in quarters, slices of cucumber sometimes in vinegar, cooked beetroot in vinegar, spring onions, hard-boiled eggs cut in halves or quarters, slices of ham/chicken/corned beef/spam/any cold meat, pickles…

Looking in Modern Practical Cookery, published in the 1930’s and probably written in the late twenties, there is a whole chapter on salads, fifteen pages followed by another fifteen on vegetables to be cooked. There are ten different salad dressings, including condensed milk salad dressing, Italian salad dressing and mint salad dressing. There’s an introduction, some instructions, suggestions on how to serve, and how to keep lettuce crisp, and recipes for pickled eggs, cheese balls, and carrot and cheese balls.

Salads, both sweet and savoury, are becoming more  and more popular. They may be served with hot or cold meat or poultry; or they make a course of their own, served in dainty, individual dishes. The most popular salad is made from a mixture of plants – lettuce, mustard and cress, endive, Batavia, and watercress. Batavia and endive are slightly bitter, and they should be used with discretion.

Winter salad

  • 1 small cooked beetroot, thinly sliced
  • 3 or 4 medium, cooked potatoes, thickly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • salad dressing – yolk from one of the boiled eggs, 1 tbsp. vinegar, ¼ tsp castor sugar, ¼ tsp mixed mustard, salt and pepper, 2 tbsp. salad oil
  1. cut one of the eggs into slices
  2. take the yolk from the other egg and crumble or rub through a sieve and set aside
  3. cut the white from the second egg into rings
  4. arrange the beetroot, tomato and potato in a serving dish, garnish with the rings of egg white
  5. make the dressing by mixing the yolk and mustard
  6. when mixed well, add the salad oil drop by drop, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon
  7. add the sugar, salt and pepper and mix well
  8. gradually add the vinegar, stirring well

You can see my featured image isn’t winter salad! It is a salad though!

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