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
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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.

Old-fashioned Thousand Island Dressing Recipe

I’m always on the look-out for good homemade salad dressing recipes. so when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Thousand Island Dressing, I had to give it a try.

The Thousand Island Dressing was delightful, though much thinner than the typical modern commercial rendition. This olive oil- and mayonnaise-based dressing had just the right amount of spiciness and a lovely citrous undertone.

The modern version typically contains sweet pickle relish; the hundred-year-old recipe called for sliced chestnuts and olives. The sweet nuttiness of the chestnuts and saltiness of the olives added an appealing new  (old?) dimension to this classic dressing.

Here’s the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book (Lilla Frich, 1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Thousand Island Dressing

  • Difficulty: easy
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1/2 cup olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1/2 orange

1 teaspoon onion, grated

3 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

8 olives sliced (I used stuffed green olives.)

8 chestnuts, sliced ( I used vacuum-packed, recipe-ready chestnuts.)

Put the olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, onion, parsley, mustard, salt, paprika, Worcestershire sauce,  and mayonnaise in a medium bowl; and whisk together until smooth. Stir in the olives and chestnuts.