The most popular salad

In my old Modern Practical Cookery there’s a rather nice menu suggested for August, and as ever, a lovely suggestion for the table decoration. We don’t have dinner parties any more – we used to quite frequently… maybe we should plan one again! When we did, I never gave a thought to a table decoration, even though we always laid the table carefully… another thing to think of! By the way, my featured isn’t of love-in-a-mist, but the equally lovely St Ann’s lace:

Table decoration for August – something quite fresh in colour schemes – marigolds and love-in-a-mist! Consider each flower separately if you would arrange them in a bowl with charm.

As for the menu, this is what either Ambrose Heath or Dorothy Daisy Cottington Taylor, the authors of this charming and historically interesting little book has to say about his/her August plan:

Although perhaps it is not considered ideal menu-making to serve all the course cold, yet after a hot summer’s day this is often the only type of meal we feel we can enjoy.
On such a night the little menu chosen this month would be very welcome.

We have had weeks and weeks of hot weather – which I love although I know it’s a trial to some, but it has been very humid and clammy and it certainly has meant our meals have been very light. What do you think of the menu the Modern Practical Cookery writer has chosen:

Veal-and-ham Pie and Salad
Iced Pineapple
Cheese Souffés

There is no specific instruction for the salad, but looking to an earlier section where there is a wonderful selection of different serving suggestions, the introduction to the chapter has probably the best idea:

The most popular salad is made from a mixture of green plants – lettuce, mustard and cress, endive, batavia and watercress. Batavia and endive are slightly bitter and they should be used with discretion….
... if you like the flavour of onion, the bowl in which the salad is to be served should be rubbed with a piece of garlic. This imparts a delicate oniony flavour which is such an improvement. Spring onions, too, can be peeled and cut up with other green plants.

The suggestion of what to dress the salad with is a French dressing or a home-made salad cream… I think I would stick with the French dressing!! It’s interesting that almost a hundred years ago the idea of a varied selection of leaves in a salad was current – not just the new ‘modern’ way of eating!

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