Hundred-Year-Old Recipe for “Mother’s” Salad Dressing

Old cookbooks often contain recipes with names that memorialize someone, but provide almost no clue about the food. For example, I’ve seen recipes for Grandma’s Cake and Mrs. Johnson’s Dessert. I usually shy away from these recipes because of the unhelpful title – but I recently made an exception. I decided to give “Mother’s” Salad Dressing a try, and I’m glad I did This tangy, creamy, old-fashioned milk, vinegar, and egg dressing was delightful.

Source; Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1915)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Mother's Salad Dressing

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 hard-cooked eggs

1/2 of a 5-ounce can of evaporated milk

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

lettuce or cabbage

Cut hard-boiled eggs in half and remove yolks; mash yolks with a fork until fine. Set aside.

Put evaporated milk in a small bowl; slowly add vinegar while stirring. Add mashed egg yolks, sugar, salt, and pepper; stir until combined.

Serve with lettuce or cabbage. If desired garnish with pieces or rings of the egg whites.

I only used half as much salt as called for in the old recipe. One teaspoon seemed like it would make the dressing too salty.

27 thoughts on “Hundred-Year-Old Recipe for “Mother’s” Salad Dressing

  1. Would you believe after all this time of following you,this is one recipe I’ll pass on… now don’t feel hurt,for one out of how many?!😀 as a young girl ,my grandmother makes with for her salads,at Grandma’s House you took a little of everything without question. I always groaned inside when I saw her beautiful salad doused with this dressing. I take a little ,cut it up fine and swallowed it down as fast as I could… can’t imagine the look on my face as it was going down,but Grandma never said a word.😂

    1. Your comment made me smile. I can also remember many foods that my grandmother made that I could barely swallow. The funny thing is that I now actually like many of those same foods. 🙂

  2. This was the very best dressing for home grown leaf lettuce! My aunts and grandmother used this recipe so the name seems apropos. I’ve had a guest or two request the recipe after I’ve served it, too—a creamy, sweet and sour.

  3. I may need to try this. I remember hearing years ago of “boiled” salad dressings, especially for “cabbage salad,” which is how cole slaw was known in NE PA.

    1. I’ve seen recipes in old cookbooks for “boiled” dressings, but I haven’t yet made any of them for this blog. I may have to try a boiled dressing recipe soon. 🙂

    1. My mother made a cole slaw dressing that sounds similar to what you describe. I think that it is sometimes called “Boiled Dressing.”

    1. I agree! I suppose that they weren’t aware that it wasn’t very healthy to use lots of salt; but, in my opinion, excessive salt doesn’t even taste good, so I’m a little befuddled by the amount of salt that old recipes sometimes call for.

    1. I was intrigued by the use of evaporated milk in this recipe. I wondered if evaporated milk was considered “modern” at the time. It’s a little thicker than regular milk, but it seems cream might be another option.

  4. Very healthy and it does sound very good! Have to give it a try. My oldest grandson doesn’t like egg yolks, so I can feed him the whites!

  5. Glad you tried one of those anonymous personal recipes out! This reminds me of an “I Love Lucy” episode:

    Taped to the inside of my kitchen cupboard is a stained index card labeled “Pappaw Watts’ Homemade Ketchup.” Which reminds me, it’s time to make again! As a kid I reached for the Heinz, but now the taste of the homemade ketchup brings back memories of sitting at my grandparents’ formica table top with all the side dishes they always offered up.

    1. It’s fun to see the old “I Love Lucy” clip. This salad dressing is definitely much better than “Aunt Martha’s Dressing.” 🙂

      You comment about homemade ketchup brought back childhood memories of a neighbor who would give us a jar of homemade ketchup each summer – and I never liked it. My mother, on the other hand, always said that the homemade ketchup tasted the way ketchup was supposed to taste- whereas commercially-made ketchup tasted burnt.

  6. Oddly enough this recipe seems familiar to me. My mother was a cook extraordinaire and she made all sorts of recipes, sometimes only once or twice. I swear she made something like this. I’m going to give this recipe a go, for many reasons. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s